Water als onze ‘frenemy’

Op de populaire Amerikaanse blog Fastcompagny verscheen 14 oktober een artikel van Jeff Chu waarin hij via het verwonderd perspectief van de buitenstaander de Nederlandse houding tegenover water minutieus weet bloot te leggen. In het artikel ‘Against the tide‘ – een lange zit, maar zeer de moeite waard – komen verschillende Nederlandse waterexperts aan het woord zoals Jeroen Aerts, Henk Ovink, Age Fluitman en Koen Olthuis die ook één van onze sprekers bij ‘De Natte Stad‘ was. Ook Tracy werd geïnterviewd:

If you were to choose a person who best represents how Dutch thinking about water management has evolved over the past two decades, it might not be an engineer or architect at all. In fact, it might be Tracy Metz, who was appointed in 2007 to a national task force convened to propose ideas for the next 50 years of flood preparedness. Metz was, in her own words, “a representative of the people.” She was a journalist, with a typical awareness of the importance of water in the country’s past as well as in its policy making–an awareness reinforced by the 200-to-300-euro-per-person levy that every resident pays for local flood protection. But beyond her own story–born in Los Angeles, she moved to the Netherlands in the 1980s and jokes about growing up in a place with too little water, only to end up in one with too much–she says she was no water expert.

Door: Sanne van der Beek

Tracy Metz door Misha de Ridder

Tracy Metz door Misha de Ridder

Over time, she became one. She learned that the dream of Holland as watertight fortress–canals are moats, straighter rivers are safer rivers, higher walls are better walls–is compelling but flawed. She discovered that the materials deployed in the Deltaworks, the country’s coastal bulwark, were sophisticated, but the methodology was essentially “the way they’ve done it from the Middle Ages.” Last year, she wrote Sweet & Salt: Water and the Dutch, the seminal book on Dutch water management. One of the book’s lessons is how Metz’s own education coincided with a shift in the official Dutch mind-set: They now accept that Mother Nature may be hard to tame but she seems willing to partner. “We used to defend against the water as our enemy,” Metz says. “You could say that there’s a new attitude: Water as our frenemy.”

Meer lezen? Lees het hele artikel ‘Against the tide’ hier en lees in ‘Waterwijsheid: f(l)ood for thought‘ meer over de internationale waardering voor Nederlandse kennis rondom watermanagment. Klik door naar ‘De Natte Stad’ voor meer blogs over dit onderwerp.

Meer kijken? Op woensdag 12 december 2012. gaf Tracy Metz voor het John Adams Institute een Zoet & Zout-lezing , waarbij ze vele voorbeelden gaf van het ontworpen waterlandschap in Nederland. Kijk de lezing hieronder: