Netherlands Embassy and Consulates, China

Dutch water genes - the Netherlands cares about water

Wind, water and wide open spaces have shaped the Netherlands and its history. To its inhabitants, the Dutch, water has always been friend and foe. The Netherlands is a relatively small deltaic region in Western Europe. Three major rivers, the Rhine, the Meuse and the Scheldt, fan out across the country before flowing into the North Sea.

From the early Middle Ages onwards, the Dutch reclaimed and defended land from the sea. In order to succeed skills, such as water management, spatial planning, water supply and water quality, needed to be developed. Today, the water management skills of the Dutch are well-known all over the world; water is in the genes of the Dutch is often said. Water also shaped the landscape of the Netherlands. Windmills (once used to pump out excess water), dikes and levees form a powerful international image.

The world is constantly changing and the Netherlands need to adapt again. A new and sustainable relationship with water needs to be formed, not only in the Netherlands but all over the world. The Dutch invite you to work together!

Click here if you want to learn more about the history of water management in the Netherlands.

Over ten years ago, Rijkswaterstaat (Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment) and the Chinese Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) started to work together. In this concrete, problem-oriented cooperation between the two countries, twinning has become an important ingredient to learn mutually from both parties.

For 15 years now Rijkswaterstaat and China have been working on water management. Gerard de Vries has been working on this Sino-Dutch water collaboration as programme manager Rijkswaterstraat collaboration the Netherlands - China since 2009. The Embassy interviewed him about the lessons and opportunities on the water collaboration between the Netherlands and China.

As well as a threat, water is also essential to life in the delta. This makes the sector fundamental to Dutch culture and character. The water sector has three primary focus areas: water technology, maritime technology and delta technology. These areas are concerned with protecting the land, generating energy, smart technologies for water recycling and safe and efficient ships.