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Designed for Dry Feet

Flood Protection and Land Reclamation in the Netherlands


Robert J. Hoeksema, Ph.D.

ASCE Press

2006 / 168 pp.
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Soft Cover — In Stock

$57.00  List /  $42.75  ASCE Member

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Stock No. 40829 / ISBN: 9780784408292 buy

E-book (PDF) — Available for Download in the ASCE Library

$57.00  List /  $42.75  ASCE Member

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Stock No. 47140 / ISBN: 9780784471401 buy


Few countries exist where humans have exerted a greater influence in shaping the landscape than the Netherlands. Located in the lowland delta of three major rivers, this small European country has fought for more than a thousand years to protect its inhabitants from floods and to reclaim flooded land.

Designed for Dry Feet explores Holland's unique challenges in water control and management. Hoeksema discusses the Netherlands' history of flood protection and land reclamation, as well as the history of water management organizations. He focuses on specific activities and projects, such as simple dwelling mounds, 17th-century windmill-powered lake draining systems, 19th-century steam-powered drainage activities, and 20th-century land reclamation and flood protection projects. Hoeksema also includes a "Sites to Visit" supplement, which he organizes into six excursions designed for those planning a trip to the Netherlands.

This book is a great asset to civil engineers from all over the world, as the technology from one country's battle with flood protection is borrowed to rebuilt others.

About the Author
Robert J. Hoeksema, Ph.D., is a professor of engineering at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with a research focus on geostatistics and groundwater. With a geographer, Hoeksema has been taking students to learn about Dutch flood protection and land reclamation for more than 10 years.

Product Reviews

"Every day there are stories in The Advocate about the ongoing work on Louisiana's levees. It seems like an endless, overwhelming job to make the levees safe and secure against storm surges and flooding. It has to be done or we face another occurrence like Hurricane Katrina. But it can be done. [Designed for Dry Feet] offers proof." —Greg Langley, The Advocate, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

"All civil engineers (not just hydrologists) should know this story, though few do, and the author is in a unique position to tell it." —Steven G. Vick, P.E., a consulting geotechnical engineer and author of Degrees of Belief: Subjective Probability and Engineering Judgment

"A fascinating book about themes that deserve the pride of the Netherlands. The recent floods in the United States prove that this book is published at the right time." —Dr. Ing. Sybe Schaap, chairman of the Water Authority Groot Salland, President of the Association of Dutch Water Authorities, and Professor, Free University of Amsterdam

"Not only does Robert Hoeksema give an accurate account of the ways in which, throughout the centuries, the Dutch kept their feet dry or at least tried to do so, with the help of windmills and pumping stations, dikes and dams but he also describes in great detail how these constructions were built and how they work." —Henk Meijer, former director, Information and Documentation Centre for the Geography of the Netherlands

"A well-written historical account of the legendary land reclamation and flood protection in the Netherlands … The lessons of the Dutch experience, particularly the storm barriers of the Delta Project, should serve both as models and as a wake-up call to a ravaged post-Katrina world." —Johan Snapper, Ph.D., Queen Beatrix Professor Emeritus of Dutch Literature & Culture, University of California at Berkeley