Project outcomes and beyond

Specific outcomes

An English summary of the final project report for the Pilot Sloe area can be downloaded here.

  • The outcomes of the main report by HKV (Kolen, Rongen and Zethof, 2019) show that suitability of the Sloe area as a temporary shelter location for residents of bathtub Ritthem is limited (Terpstra and Buijs, 2020)
  • It is more worthwhile to search for possibilities via a flexible evacuation and communication strategy, in order to reduce the vulnerability of the Ritthem bathtub in the event of a flood ( Kolen, Rongen and Zethof, 2019)

In the video below, the lessons learnt and outcomes of this pilot are summarized:

Process results

The findings of the surveys and focus groups discussions are the following (Terpstra and Buijs, 2020):

  • Risk perceptions and trust. It was found out that citizens in Zeeland have a low perception of flood risk trust in flood management authorities. In the focus groups, citizens from Ritthem showed low trust in crisis plans while citizens from Middelburg South showed high trust in crisis plans.
  • Support for evacuation strategies. On average, the support for preventive evacuation was slightly higher than for both vertical evacuation strategies (sheltering at home and/or on a higher building). In the focus groups, citizens from Ritthem did not support the evacuation strategies while the citizens from Middelburg South preferred ‘staying at home’ or ‘high building’ as evacuations strategies.
  • Evacuation intentions. On a flood scenario and the advice of authorities to not leave town, citizens indicated that they prefer to stay at home (36-75%), followed by the intention to go a high building (11-41%) and lastly to leave (13-32%). The focus groups discussions revealed that citizens would prefer the evacuation strategy ‘staying at home’.
  • Differences between areas. In Noord-Beveland (lower ground) there is a public support for staying at home and in Reimerswaal (higher ground) there is public support for prevention evacuation.

Flood risk management strategies (FRMS)

Generally, the flood risk governance (FRG) in the Netherlands is dominated by defence/flood protection through hard infrastructure and FRM belongs mainly to the public water sector (state) taking action at central and regional level (Buijs et al. 2018). The Zeeland region counts on the safety delivered by the dikes. The following table summarizes the actions/measures taken for flood risk management before, during Frames and which will be impact of afterwards.

Layers of MLS Before FRAMES During FRAMES After FRAMES
1 Flood protection Dike and elevated harbor (+5,20 NAP) (baseline and final monitor 2017, 2020 & Interview pilot manager 2019) No attention The waterboard will reinforce the coastal defence for the flood prone area of the Badkuip van Ritthem in the future. However that is not a result of FRAMES, but part of the coastal defence strategy of the Netherlands (final monitoring survey 2020). 
2 Spatial adaptation Dike and elevated harbor (+5,20 NAP) (baseline monitor 2017 & Interview pilot manager 2019) Investigate the potential of using the harbor as a ‘safe haven’ to temporarily shelter people in case of flooding (baseline monitor 2017). Organisations involved in this pilot will embedded the lessons learnt into their policy and practices will improve their policies (final monitoring survey 2020)
3 Preparedness and response Not the focus of this pilot Development of a risk communication strategy for citizens

Development of an evacuation strategy (vertical evacuation)

Increase in flood risk awareness among authorities responsible of crisis management and vulnerable communities about evacuation and shelter locations (Baseline monitor 2017 & Interview pilot manager 2019)

Development of criteria required to identify and make suitable shelter locations (final monitoring survey 2020)

Increase in flood risk awareness among authorities responsible of crisis management and vulnerable communities about evacuation and shelter locations (Baseline monitor 2017 & Interview pilot manager 2019)

Based on lessons learnt, all stakeholders will improve their policies in view of expected sea level rise (final monitoring survey 2020)

Once local, regional and/or national government adapt their policies they will be share it with the communities(final monitoring survey 2020)

4 Resilient recovery Not the focus of this pilot Awareness increase and improve shelter location will lead to resilient recovery ;

Within the Sloe area we have looked into the possibility to use the industrial Sloe area as a hub for transporting recovery materials.

(final monitoring survey, 2020)

The harbor could be used as a hub to transport means required in the recovery process. Now that the involved organisations are aware of the outcomes of the Sloe area pilot they will use this knowledge to develop policy and practices are next steps (final monitoring survey, 2020)

Once local, regional and/or national government adapt their policies they will be share it with the communities(final monitoring survey 2020)

Lessons learnt

Knowledge needs / challenges for flood resilience

  • There are no shelter locations for citizens to stay temporary until evacuation is possible. More tailored made risk communication is needed since the risk perception of citizens is low.
  • By elaborating different scenarios with choices to be made in advance, the time during which effective action can be taken is increased (HKV, 2019).
  • The strategy of vertical evacuation (and shelters) in combination with shelter locations in and around the Ritthem bathtub is in many cases the best starting point for limiting casualties and damage. But if it is possible that these people (or specific zones) leave the entire threatened area in time, is of course the preference. To this end, it is important to prepare for flexible evacuation strategies, identify and prepare shelter locations to be designated to use the coordination structure to define the best mix between preventive and vertical evacuation (HKV, 2019).
  • Therefore it is important to estimate how many people can leave the threatened area and how much (and where) these people can best hide. Although leaving the threatened area is of course the most desirable strategy, we recommend preparing vertical evacuation as a basic strategy. This is a strategy that works in case of little time. If more time is available, the regular crisis organization can map out whether areas can still evacuate in the event of a threat. If these decisions are better prepared, the decision-making process will also result in less time (and headaches), making more execution time available (HKV, 2019).

Lessons learnt about applying MLS technique

  • It was a surprise that the harbor is not suitable as shelter location because of lack of facilities (no heating, no water proof, no toilets) and that it was therefore required to invest in a communication strategy before a flood happens. Inhabitants need to know what to do and where to go in case of a flooding. The communication can be done through the website of the Safety Region and make sure that people subscribe to get the information. If investments are made in a communication strategy, the evacuation and crisis management plans, layer 3 of MLS, will also improve.

Main uncertainties and challenges encountered

  • It was challenging to involve the stakeholders from the harbor area. It was not easy to interview them and involve them in the workshops. They do not have the knowledge about flooding and it was also time consuming for them. In addition, the building managers were not so open to provide information about the suitability of the building as a shelter location.
  • In the Netherlands, the chance for flooding due to dyke breaching is very low (1 in 4000 years) and it has proven difficult to communicate such low probabilities of flooding to authorities responsible of spatial adaptation measures to ensure safe evacuation (roads, railways) in case of flooding. Communication with citizens about flood risk is also very important.


For the Provincce of Zeeland, it is now clear that the harbor cannot be used as a shelter location because the buildings of the companies in the industrial Sloe area are mostly one level buildings.  Therefore, people can take shelter on the highest buildings in the area until they can be evacuated (Kolen, Rongen and Zethof, 2019; Transnational Monitor and Evaluation report, 2020).

The outcome of this pilot enables a shift in FRG arrangements going from fu

ll focus on layer 1, flood protection, to more diversified flood risk arrangements including layer 3, preparedness and response.

Dissemination and up-scaling of pilot results

It will be a challenge for the Safety Region to upscale the pilot outcomes. It will not be easy to get funding when the probability of a flooding to happen, and have to evacuate people, is so low. If there will be budget available, it will be invested in layer 1 and not layer 3. The same happens with taking measures on layers 2, it is more expensive to consider spatial measures that to invest in layer 1.

Transnational exchange

The transnational knowledge exchange between stakeholders of the Wesermarsch pilot project, Zeeland pilot projects (Reimerswaal, Flood proof Electricity grid Zeeland, and Sloe area) and Alblasserwaard pilot lead to a shared understanding of emergency planning, risk communication and evacuation strategies. Moreover, this exchange of information enriched the understanding of MLS actions linked to the context needs.

The results of the pilot have been shared with all FRAMES partners. Especially for the FRAMES partners working on the Wesermarsch pilot (Germany) and on the Alblasserwaard pilot (the Netherlands), the results of the Sloe area pilot will be useful because of the similarities of the pilot area and the issues (Transnational Monitor and Evaluation report, 2020).