With the sea level rising as a result of global warming, the low-lying Netherlands is fighting back for more space by building communities on water.
Ever thought of buying a house you could move with you?
Recognising the growing scarcity of building ground in the Netherlands, a Dutch construction company has started building houses on water. The houses, made of wood and lightweight aluminium, are linked to each other by walkways but can be detached from the surrounding neighbourhood and individually moved by tugboats.
For centuries the Netherlands has fought against invading water with land fills, dams and dykes. But the philosophy is changing in the wake of global warming, blamed for the 20 cm-rise in sea-level over the last century. Instead of driving out the water, the Dutch is trying to live on it. And since we are getting more and more rain, we are having more and more water in this country which is fifty percent below the sea level as you know, and so we have developed this concept of building villages on the water, Ooms Bouwmaatschappijs marketing director, Gijsbert van der Woerdt told Reuters.
The company Ooms Bouwmaatschappij has built the first eight of the planned 500 floating houses on the outskirts of Amsterdam, capital of the worlds third most densely populated country. The houses are designed to withstand gales and can be located up to 100 metres from the shore.
Gijsbert van der Woerdt
Interest in the novel mode of living, a natural progression from the ubiquitous houseboats, has been keen. There are about 5,000 names on the waiting list for the accomodation that sells for between $180,000 and $500,000.
Doctor Dorien Vluchter and her husband Ari Mashiach took a day off to visit the floating estate with their child.
“I have never thought about the possibility and it just appears to me very interesting that something is floating on the water. And the freedom, maybe eventually we can take the house some place else. I think that is more interesting than moving, now you just move your whole house”, Vluchter said. Her husband was more sceptical.
“I can imagine that the water is kind of calming, something very quiet and nice to look at. On the other side, I think, well it is just water, so I cannot open open the door and play in the garden with my daughter, so I don’t know”, Mashiach said.
Spoken comments: Frits Schoute A Dutch academic is taking this idea further and has been searching for ways to colonise the sea. Frits Schoute, a former professor at Delft University, is working on a stabilising platform that allows communities to live in the middle of oceans, unaffected by waves.
“We are working on solutions for stabilising a platform and making some kind of barrier around it, such that it is ultimately comfortable to live on the sea”, Schoute said.
Schoute expects people to start living and working on these full-scale platforms by 2020, with floating cities being established in 2050. The world will be a very different place.