On 20 March, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands visited the city of Hamburg to discuss water challenges of cities with German and Dutch water experts. Their visit was part of a trade mission to Hamburg. Chris Zevenbergen, Professor of Flood Resilience of Urban Systems at UNESCO-IHE was part of the Dutch team spearheaded by the new Special Envoy for International Water Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Henk Ovink.
Protecting cultural assets
The royal couple participated in a pressure cooker session with experts where special attention was given to cultural heritage as on a global scale. Cultural heritage is being threatened by increased frequencies and intensities of water related hazards such as floods.
This threat calls for innovative adaptation and mitigation strategies to protect cultural assets. In addition, more reliable, predictive and cost effective maintenance is needed, as well as diagnosis, treatment and a better appreciation of the historical value.
Experts from Germany and the Netherlands shared experiences of these challenges and have a lot to offer each other in terms of technology and best practices. Therefore, a ply was made to intensify collaboration and to foster an interdisciplinary approach.