One third of Dutch economy in jeopardy in case of flood disaster

Due to the ongoing process of climate change and the ensuing threat of flood disasters, flood-prone areas in the Netherlands, which cover one third of the total land area, require extra attention. Approximately 6 million people live in flood-prone areas. In 2007, one third of GDP was generated in these areas.

Risk map, floods

Risk map, floods

Bron: Landelijk Beheer Organisatie Risicokaart van het Interprovinciaal Overleg, CBS

One third of employment generated in flood-prone areas

Nearly 2 million full-time jobs of employees, about one third of total employment in the Netherlands, are found in flood-prone areas. Most full-time jobs in flood-prone areas, approximately 950 thousand, are found in the sector commercial services. The sector commercial services is relatively important in the Randstad region, where most of these areas are situated.

Share employment (in labour years) per sector, 2007

Share employment (in labour years) per sector, 2007

Besides, a large proportion of horticultural, public utility and construction companies are situated in areas at flood risk. There are many horticultural companies in the low-lying Westland. Energy companies are often located in water-rich regions, because they require substantial volumes of cooling water.

Low level of industrial activity in flood-prone areas

Manufacturing industry is not frequently found in flood-prone areas. The petroleum, chemical, electro-technical and transport industries are mostly found in areas not designated as flood-prone. The majority are found in the Rotterdam port area, which was raised to cope with high tides. The electro-technical industry is well represented in the vicinity of Eindhoven situated remote from the sea and the large rivers. The transport sector is mainly found in the elevated provinces of Brabant and Limburg.

Flood-prone area accounted for approximately 180 billion euro in 2007

The value added generated in flood-prone areas amounted to 182 billion euro, about one third of the Dutch GDP in 2007.

Maarten van Rossum and Sjoerd Schenau