Much of the Netherlands is below sea level. Dunes, dams, dykes and other flood defences keep out water from the sea, large lakes and rivers. However, despite constant efforts, things can still go wrong.

Floods are dangerous. Houses flood and people and animals are at risk. In winter and spring, there is a greater chance of high water on Dutch rivers and along the coast. There is more rainwater then in other seasons. A flood usually does not come unexpectedly.

Think ahead

  • Put together an emergency kit. You can also take the emergency kit with you if you have to leave your home.
  • Check the website overstroomik.nl (information in Dutch only) to see if your house is at risk from a flood.
  • Up-to-date information can be found on the website from your security region or via your local radio or TV station. 
  • Think in advance which place in your house will stay dry the longest.
  • Think about to whom you can go to if you have to leave your home.
  • Discuss with neighbours how you can help each other.
  • Keep warm blankets and towels in a dry place in order to keep yourself dry and warm. 
  • Check escape routes so that you know how to leave your house if you can no longer leave through the front door. For example a skylight or ladder.
  • Know where the main gas valve is, so you can turn it off if there is a risk of flooding. 
  • Make sure you have a clean bucket, empty bottles or a jerry can at home. You can use this if emergency drinking water is distributed.
  • Also think about the animals in and around your home. Can they come (with you) to a dry place?

Government actions

  • To continue protecting the Netherlands against flooding, flood defences such as dams and dikes must be in good order. That is why the government regularly checks whether flood defences meet the legal standards. If this is not the case, the flood defences are reinforced or modified.
  • The government reserves space in the Netherlands to retain excess water. For instance in parks, recreational areas, nature reserves or polders. 
  • The government also cooperates with neighbouring countries to prevent flooding of all cross-border waters such as rivers.