See the following article; I wonder when we are going to see stuff like this in Belize?
Tulip Island in the North Sea?Land reclamation back on the Dutch political agendaby Political Editor John Tyler
02-11-2007One day this week, the front page of a Dutch newspaper featured a satellite photograph on the Netherlands, with one addition: a large island in the North Sea, just off the coast, in the shape of a tulip. The tulip was perhaps a bit playful, but the idea of building an island in the North Sea has been floated for the past decade or so.
It came up again this week during a budget debate in parliament. But while politicians debate grandiose projects like putting islands in the sea, Dutch water experts have been adding hundreds of new hectares to the Dutch coast. Not by building islands, but by extending the coast itself. The emphasis is no longer on large, expensive projects creating thousands of hectares of land at one shot - rather, experts are now focusing on creating new land along the Dutch coast. New philosophy
Specialist Ronald Waterman says this is part of a new philosophy among hydro-engineers of working in harmony with nature."The basic principle of reclaiming the new land is building with nature making more use of materials and forces present in nature. We are doing all this in order to create a new flexible, dynamic coast in which accretion and erosion are more or less in balance."
Among the projects that have been realized using this philosophy are the Slufterdam near Hoek van Holland, a strip of land used for generating wind energy, and new stretch of beach and dunes near IJmuiden, used as a marina.
Waterman says that building islands in the North Sea, even in the shape of a tulip, would certainly be possible. But he says there are still thousands of hectares to be won, for much less money, by extending the coast. Much less fill is needed, since the sea is significantly shallower near the coast. Plus, says Waterman, Dutch hydro engineers now see more benefit in soft boundaries between sea and land, in place of the hard, immovable dykes of the past. An island out at sea would need a substantial system of dykes to withstand the forces of the water. Expensive
For some, though, the obstacles do not outweigh the benefits. The spokesperson for agriculture for the Christian Democrats, Joop Atsma, wants the government to look into building an island in the North Sea.
Atsma admits the project would be expensive, but he puts that in perceptive. Atsma estimates that 10 billion euros will be needed if the government were to purchase existing land to meet all of its current needs in housing and other areas."For that amount, you could do a lot. So the question, is building an island worth it, I say, absolutely."
But the CDA spokesman says such an investment should be looked at in the long term. Such an island would benefit the country for many generations to come."When the Flevo polders were made, when the northeast polder was reclaimed, the same questions were raised. And I think today everyone is glad they decided to go ahead with it."Proud
Water expert Ronald Waterman is also proud of the Dutch tradition of large reclamation projects. But he says one of the lessons learned from such large-scale projects is that one must take natural forces into account when reclaiming land, or creating new land.
Waterman enthusiastically describes the range of benefits he sees in this new way of working. Extending the coast not only creates new land, it helps defend the coast against a rising sea level. It not only provides new opportunities for economic activity, but also allows more space for the environment to flourish. In addition, he says, the extension of the coasts helps solve an increasing problem with the salinazation of the ground water. All at a reasonable cost."In this case the big teacher is nature itself. We learn our lessons from nature. The emphasis is no longer on strong solid sea wall elements such as bulwarks against the sea, but instead on dunes and beaches in harmony with the sea."
Nonetheless, parliament has decided to look into the possibilities of creating islands off the coast. A new windmill park in the sea was opened last year, and many still hope to someday build a new airport off the coast. The saying goes, "God made the world, but Dutch people made the Netherlands." Many here think the job isn't yet finished.http://www.radionetherlands.nl/currentaffairs/071102-land-reclamation-mc