Developments in the management of flood defences and hydraulic infrastructure in the Netherlands

Sebastiaan N. Jonkman*, Hessel G. Voortman, Wouter Jan Klerk, Saskia van Vuren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
105 Downloads (Pure)


This article highlights recent developments in flood risk management in the Netherlands and presents approaches for reliability analysis and asset management for flood defences and hydraulic infrastructure. The functioning of this infrastructure is of great importance for the country as large parts of it are prone to flooding. Based on a nationwide flood risk assessment, new safety standards for flood defences have been derived in the form of maximal acceptable failure probabilities. A framework for the reliability-based analysis of the performance of hydraulic infrastructure is introduced. Within this context, various challenges are discussed, such as the dynamic nature of loads, resistance and reliability requirements over time. Various case studies are presented to highlight advances and challenges in various application fields. The first case illustrates how structural health monitoring contributes to a better characterisation of the reliability of the defences and how innovative measures can enhance the reliability. The second case discusses how the river system can be managed in the context of the new safety standards. The third case shows how upgrades and reinforcements of hydraulic structures can be evaluated taking into account (uncertain) future developments, such as sea level rise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)895-910
Number of pages16
JournalStructure and Infrastructure Engineering
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2018


  • asset management
  • dikes
  • flood defences
  • Flood risk
  • hydraulic structures
  • reliability
  • risk management
  • rivers


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