Vital and Vulnerable Pilots

In order to coordinate the central and regional approaches to national vital and vulnerable functions, and to foster collaboration, various area sessions have been organised with a number of “active” areas, aimed at developing a collective approach to vital and vulnerable functions. The following pilots have been launched:


The Rotterdam Harbour and Industrial Complex (HIC) is largely situated outside the dykes. As a main port, it is of strategic value to the Netherlands and Europe. The elevated Rotterdam harbour is one of the safest major ports in the world in terms of flood risks. This means the risk is small, yet a heavy storm on the North Sea could cause pluvial flooding and even coastal flooding. The Botlek pilot comprises an analysis of current flood risk management policy and the development of an adaptation strategy. The pilot involves a collaboration between the Rotterdam Port Authority and various governments, such as the municipality of Rotterdam and Rijkswaterstaat, the executive agency of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. Furthermore, a number of companies are conducting risk assessments of their own accord.

Botlek Flood Risk Management. Botlek Flood Risk Management pilot: a safe port – now and in the future (2016), Royal Haskoning DHV- Defacto- HKV Lijn in Water.

IJssel-Vecht Delta

The IJssel-Vecht Delta is a sensitive spot in the Dutch water system, because it is affected by both the IJsselmeer Lake and several rivers. The region has developed a coherent, broadly supported strategy aimed at “sustainable, safe, and climate-proof living, working, and recreation”. Vital and vulnerable infrastructure is addressed in the regional Delta Programme. In close collaboration with, inter alia, Isala Klinieken, Tennet, and Vitens, impact analyses have been conducted to explore how vital and vulnerable functions could be better protected from both river flooding and pluvial flooding. The analyses clearly showed that each function, object, and location is impacted differently by a flood. In the meantime, the IJssel-Vecht Delta is continuing its efforts to raise awareness among chain and government partners.

Vital & Vulnerable functions in the IJssel-Vecht delta. An exploration of direct and indirect effects of flooding (2017), Deltares.


The entire province of Zeeland is involved in the strategy to improve the flood protection of vital and vulnerable functions. Between 2016 and 2020, a joint venture of the Province, municipalities, security region, HZ University of Applied Sciences, and the Rijkswaterstaat regional department will conduct a climate test in every municipality of Zeeland. This will identify vulnerabilities in the fields of flood risks, pluvial flooding, drought, and heat stress, on the basis of which recommendations will be made for boosting resilience. One of the pillars is raising flood awareness among the functions that have been designated as vital and vulnerable. In meetings with the power, nuclear, and chemical sectors, the joint venture uses 3D visualisations to demonstrate flood impacts. The next step is determining which spatial domain measures will help mitigate the impact of a flood.

Amsterdam Flood-proof Westpoort

The Amsterdam Westpoort area accommodates a large number of vital and vulnerable functions. A flood would cause substantial economic damage and societal disruption. As one of the Vital and Vulnerable pilot areas, the partners in this area have signed the Declaration of Intent on Spatial Adaptation and subsequently elaborated the adaptation strategy. In line with the principle of “minor chance, major consequences”, they have set down the ambition of working on the water-resilient design of vital infrastructure and vulnerable objects.

Flood-proof Westpoort: adaptation strategies

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