Dutch Weather Institute warns of rapid sea level rise of up to 2 meters

Netherlands could handle 1 meter but 2 meters is very problematic, and 3 meters would be catastrophic, warns filmmaker

Selman Aksunger  | 10.11.2021 - Update : 11.11.2021
Dutch Weather Institute warns of rapid sea level rise of up to 2 meters


With much of its territory lying below sea level, the Netherlands is expected to be below sea level more than expected by the end of the century, according to a new report.

Some 26% of the Netherlands’ territory is located below sea level, but about half of the country’s population lives in these regions.

According to local IamExpat, the Dutch Weather Institute (KNMI) recently warned of the rapid rise in sea levels in the country in a report, saying that "sea levels will rise 1.2 to 2 meters (3.3 feet-4 feet) over the next 79 years if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced immediately and the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet accelerates."

In 2014 the institute predicted a one-meter rise in sea level in the Netherlands by the end of the century, but only seven years later, in the 2021 report, this prediction was updated to 2 meters.

Commenting on the report, Dutch State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Steven Weyenberg said this warning must be heeded, as "it might not be cheerful reading, but it is necessary reading."

"Talking about tackling climate change as something we do for our children devalues the urgency," he added, stressing that the threat is happening right now.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Kadir van Lohuizen, a photographer and filmmaker in Amsterdam who makes documentaries and art exhibits on sea level rise, said the projected rise "could be the worst-case scenario" for the country.

"What was projected by the end of the century below one meter ... could be the worst-case scenario that the Netherlands could face 2-3 meters (up to about 10 feet). And this is going to be very problematic," he said.

Telling how the Netherlands could handle a meter rise in sea-level, van Lohuizen explained: "Two meters is becoming very problematic and three meters is catastrophic, which means that there is an option that the capital of the Netherlands (Amsterdam) needs to be relocated, like many other parts of the Western Netherlands, including the big port of Rotterdam."

He also said the Dutch people are worried that the current UN climate change conference in Glasgow might not "bring an agreement. It doesn't look good for the Netherlands."

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