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Polder2C's: Living lab Hedwige-Prosperpolder

Climate change has been affecting countries in the 2 Seas Region (Belgium, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and France) more severely than expected. Extreme weather conditions that threaten the integrity of levees along the coast and the rivers are becoming more frequent and intense. Are flood defences safe enough, and how effective will emergency response be in case of a levee failure? How can the combination of flood defences and emergency response remain effective in light of the emerging circumstances? These questions are relevant to local stakeholders whose prosperity and wellbeing depend upon flood resilience.

Polder2C’s offers a rare opportunity to test and improve flood resilience by improving climate change adaptation capacity on a strategic, tactical and operational level. Thirteen partners from the 2 Seas Region and more than thirty ‘observer’ organisations have come together to design, execute and evaluate a series of experiments on levee performance and emergency response in the Hedwige-Prosper polder. This is a unique site of 6 Km2 that is currently being depoldered, allowing the development of a new tidal area. As a new levee is being built, the old levee and the land behind it will be used as a living lab for in-situ tests and large scale exercises.

Polder2C’s places a great importance in transfer of knowledge to students and young professionals. The Living lab Hedwige-Prosper will accommodate events focused on education and will welcome students to participate in field activities. A levee winter school, a levee challenge and excursions are some examples of possibilities for the next generation to become actively involved in Polder2C’s.

Polder2C’s focuses on three main areas:

  1. Flood Defences: Research on the actual strength and resilience of levees supported by levee stress tests, such as overflow, wave overtopping and breach growth experiments under varying conditions.
  2. Emergency Response: Research on the effectiveness of emergency response in case of a levee breach, facilitated through damages induced during levee stress tests.
  3. Knowledge Infrastructure: Consolidation of knowledge acquired in the Living Lab Hedwige-Prosper though the creation of user-friendly information and data platforms, involvement of students in field activities and integration of outcomes in educational curricula.

This project has received funding from the Interreg 2 Seas programme 2014-2020 co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund under subsidy contract No [2S07-023].

Polder2C’s partners
A total of thirteen partners are involved in the Interreg 2 Seas programme 2014-2020 subsidy application: Department of Mobility and Public Works/Flanders Hydraulics Research and Catholic University Leuven (KU Leuven) from Belgium, Environment Agency and South West Water from England, Cerema, ISL Engineering and University of Lille from France and Delft University of Technology, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water management (RWS), Province of Zeeland, HZ University Of Applied Sciences, Ministry of Defence and the Foundation of Applied Water Research (STOWA) from the Netherlands.


With a financial contribution of