Ground subsidence: Knowledge and technique essential

During the national ‘All of Holland is Subsiding’ congress, Regional Minister Janssen emphasized the serious nature of subsidence and the importance of knowledge development and cooperation with all parties involved.

“Subsidence is, a sizeable social problem, certainly in Zuid-Holland, that requires more acknowledgement and recognition form the citizens, farmers, and all authorities”, according to Regional Minister Rik Janssen. He said this on 9 November 2017 in Rotterdam during the second national soil subsidence congress ‘All of Holland is Sinking'. “No single party can solve this alone and there is no single blueprint to solve this. I consider it most promising if various parties from their own perspective and role contribute to designing the required changes. I believe the development of knowledge and technique to be indispensable in this respect, which emphasizes the great importance of the Knowledge Programme Climate, Water and Soil Subsidence".


During the congress, the administrators of various authorities and other parties such as knowledge institutions have considered the yield of the knowledge programme. This programme was set up in 2016 by the Soft Soils Platform (Platform Slappe Bodems) and the Province of Zuid-Holland. Last year, under the auspices of municipalities, water boards and provinces, and in cooperation with social partners, knowledge institutions and market parties, an innovation network was established and various study environments were created. Knowledge on the peat soil subsidence problem and possible solutions to the problem have been shared with each other. On 9 November 2017, attention was given to what The Netherlands still needs to be water-robust and climate-resistant in 2050.  That is a big challenge, which is even greater in the peat lands. The attendees at the congress were shown a preview of the documentary ‘The Sinking Land’. It highlights the consequences of the subsiding peat soil in large parts of West and North-Netherlands.  The documentary will be aired by a number of regional networks on 18 and 19 November 2017.

Developments in knowledge and technique

The Province of Zuid-Holland participates in the development of knowledge and technique. The Knowledge Programme Climate, Water and Soil Subsidence receives financial support, as does the Veenweide Innovation Centre, where innovations are developed and tested. Knowledge Institute Deltares has been commissioned by the Province to develop a soil subsidence risk map for Zuid-Holland. This risk map will be completed at the beginning of 2018 and will offer insight into the areas at risk that require further research and attention. In areas in which there is soil subsidence, the Province will either organise talks with all parties involved to jointly come to an action perspective that all can apply, or look for custom-made options in the approach of a widespread problem. The Province has also taken the initiative for a European conference on soil subsidence, to take place in the first half of 2018. We want to explore which European partners are faced by soil subsidence and with which partners we can cooperate on the agenda or in the formation or use of funds.