Excursion 1: The subsiding Holland coastal plain/research Centre Zegveld: future for the peat meadow area
Keywords: Bus tour, walk – Research Centre Zegveld – Peat meadow Innovation Centre – subsidence - conservation – GHG emissions
The subsiding Holland coastal plain
The subsiding coastal plain of the western-Netherlands is of great economic importance and especially the western part of the plain is densely populated. Present surface elevation is up to a few meters below sea-level and subsidence is ongoing due to continuous groundwater-level lowering, making this area vulnerable for sea-level rise.
During this field trip we will visit a former peat excavation area, a subsidence and GHG monitoring and experimental site at which innovative methods are developed and tested to minimize peat oxidation to conserve the peat meadow area and a village in a rural area showing the consequences of land subsidence in both the built-up and agricultural part of the area.
Aerial view of a typical Dutch peat meadow landscape. Source Joop van Osch (WUR).
Cows in the peat meadow area. Source Bron: Joop van Osch (WUR).
Subsiding polder area in the western Netherlands. Source H.J.A. Berendsen.
Research Centre Zegveld: future for the peat meadow area
Short description: The western peat meadow area is called the Green Heart because it is a green area in the middle between all major Dutch cities. It is considered as a very valuable cultural and historic area. One of the main issues of the peat meadows is subsidence and GHG emissions. The subsidence in the western peat meadow area is 5 to 10 mm per year and is mainly caused by peat oxidation. The resulting CO2 emissions are 10 – 25 t/ha/year. In the worst case scenario subsidence rates and CO2 emissions might be doubled due to climate change! In the Peat meadow Innovation Centre Zegveld new innovative methods are developed and tested to minimize peat oxidation to conserve the peat meadow area.
Some topics to be seen are:
- Monitoring subsidence since 1970 of peat meadow parcels with low and high ditchwater levels
- Research on the effect of infiltration via submerged drains to rise groundwater levels to decrease subsidence rates and GHG emissions
- Research on paludiculture (wet agriculture) to diminish subsidence rates and GHG emissions
- Controlled high groundwater levels (kept at 40 cm minus surface) to minimize subsidence rates and GHG emissions
- NEW: playground for measuring techniques to monitor subsidence. New start and continuation of the Dutch monitoring site Zegveld on subsidence
- NEW: key site for the Dutch monitoring program of GHG emissions of peat meadows: how can the CO2-emission of the Dutch peat meadow area be reduced with 1 Mton per year?
- New ways of dairy farming
Excursion 2: Protective solutions: Delta Works and improving freshwater resources
The Delta Works is protecting hundreds of thousands of people against high water. Visit the largest storm surge barrier of the Netherlands; the Easternscheldt barrier. Living in a low-lying country often means more pressure on your freshwater resources in the coastal area. Farmers and experts will tell you more about how they work together to improve fresh water resources in a saline deltaic area. After the lunch in the old city Zierikzee we will explore a 1953 flooded area by foot and the participants will be confronted by the disastrous effects the flooding of 1953.
Excursion 3: Excursion to the reclaimed province of Flevoland
Eighty years ago began the construction of the newest province in the Netherlands, Flevoland. New land was reclaimed from the former Zuiderzee and in 1968 close to 2.5 thousand square kilometres was added to the Netherlands. Two small islands of Urk and Schokland became part of the polder. Today more than 400,000 inhabitants live on average 5 metres below sea level. Cultivation of the new land meant that the soft soils of the former sea bottom had to be drained. As a result the province still has to contend with subsidence. This was of course foreseen, but initial estimates were exceeded in the following decades and the final estimates have been increased several times to up to 2 metres in the Southern part .
In the morning we will visit the water board of Zuiderzeeland, who are responsible for the management of ground- and surface water. We will hear how they manage the consequences of subsidence in the new land.
In the afternoon we will go to the former island of Schokland, a UNESCO world heritage site. The area surrounding the island and the former island itself is suffering from subsidence. Besides the challenges for the water board we will experience the dramatic history of the small community that lived there.
Finally, we will visit the largest pumping station in Flevoland, the De Blocq van Kuffeler, where we can experience the 4 m difference in water level in the Markermeer and in Flevoland.
Excursion 4: Loosing land!
We will visit several spots in a transect from the solid ice-pushed Pleistocene hills, passing the soft polder area, towards the North Sea (Hilversum-Zandvoort) and answer many questions: how the Netherlands have lost and are still losing land? Have the Dutch built or “burnt” their land? Why do they have to abandon some of their polders? What is so special about the way they extract ground water?
Excursion 5: Keukenhof (non scientific tour)
Instead of going on a scientific tour you are welcome to visit the famous blooming tulip fields of the Keukenhof.
The history of Keukenhof dates back to the 15th century. Countess Jacoba van Beieren [Jacqueline of Bavaria] (1401-1436) gathered fruit and vegetables from the Keukenduin [kitchen dunes] for the kitchen of Teylingen Castle. Keukenhof Castle was built in 1641 and the estate grew to encompass an area of over 200 hectares.
Landscape architects Jan David Zocher and his son Louis Paul Zocher, who also designed Amsterdam's Vondelpark, redesigned the castle gardens in 1857. That park, in the English landscape style, still constitutes the basis of Keukenhof.
In 1949 a group of 20 leading flower bulb growers and exporters came up with the plan to use the estate to exhibit spring-flowering bulbs, signalling the birth of Keukenhof as a spring park. The park opened its gates to the public in 1950 and was an instant success, with 236,000 visitors in the first year alone. 2019 will be the 70th edition of Keukenhof, with Flower Power as its theme. During the past 69 years Keukenhof has developed into a world-famous attraction.
Your visit to the Keukenhof is included in your registration fee. If you would like to bring an accompanying person you are welcome buy an additional ticket for € 20,00 euro (entrance and transportation) during your registration.
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