The international top and administrators exchanged practical experiences and entered into discussions with one another about the challenges and possible solutions for rural and urban areas. Many low-lying areas of the world are affected by land subsidence. On Friday in Gouda, we compared the situation and approach in three global cities – Venice, Shanghai and Houston – with the situation and approach in the Netherlands. Experts from the Dutch Land Subsidence and Foundations Knowledge Centre and partners involved described the issues and approach in the Netherlands.

It is so valuable for scientists and policymakers to share their knowledge and experiences here. In that way, we strengthen our knowledge base and make genuine progress on coping with land subsidence and on effective solutions.

Gilles Erkens, land subsidence expert at Deltares, University Utrecht and a TISOLS organiser.

Knowledge about land subsidence and foundations meet in the Arti Legi building

The Land Subsidence and Foundations Knowledge Centre has been housed in Arti Legi on Gouda's Markt since late last year. This has given the wonderful building a fantastic role. The national Knowledge Centre is a ‘bottom-up’ initiative from national organisations and the government authorities active in these domains.
Michel Klijmij - van der Laan, the Chair of the Soft Soils Platform, and René Vrugt, Director of Soil, Space and Climate Adaptation at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, officially opened the Knowledge Centre during TISOLS at the Sint Jan church with a push of a button.

Land subsidence affects millions of people in the Netherlands alone. It is incredibly important for the future that we combine the knowledge in this field and make it accessible. Only then can we learn to cope effectively with the consequences of land subsidence.

Michel Klijmij - van der Laan, the Chair of the Soft Soils Platform

Major consequences for society

Land subsidence and foundation problems are having an increasing impact on society. One million home-owners may encounter foundation problems, governments will be faced with the rising costs of maintaining infrastructure, and land subsidence in peatland areas is making a significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. A lot of work is already going into finding solutions to these problems but this knowledge is still not reaching enough people. That is the reason for the establishment of the Land Subsidence and Foundations Knowledge Centre. The themes addressed by the Knowledge Centre are indispensable, and
they support the implementation and acceleration of a range of national programmes such as the
agendas relating to housing construction, climate change and the energy transition.

A wide range of people and organisations in the Netherlands are affected by the land subsidence associated with soft soil and greenhouse gas emissions and/or with foundation problems. They need straightforward access to the best knowledge and the right contacts. That is the mission of the Knowledge Centre. The mission is being implemented in concrete terms in the form of an accessible website and the location in Gouda. In addition, starting this autumn, the Knowledge Centre will open a permanent exhibition at Arti Legi that will link the available knowledge on location to local and regional issues.

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