It’s not looking good for Amsterdam.
It is no secret that around 1/3 of the Netherlands lies below sea level, and its lowest point it’s already 22 feet below sea level. Parts of the country have even been reclaimed from the sea, having been built up to expand the land here in the 1950s.
However, it takes a great deal of effort to keep the country from flooding. You’ve probably seen the man-made sand dunes along the coast, and there are plenty of dikes and pumps to keep the sea from flooding our cities. In fact, the Netherlands has an incredibly sophisticated system to keep the country afloat, but the country sinks at a rate of roughly 7mm a year and global warming is causing sea levels to rise.
Coastal regions will face rising sea levels over the next few years and it will be up to the Netherlands to keep those flood defenses strong, or we will see the West of the country underwater by 2030, according to this interactive map. The map uses ‘datasets for elevation and tides’ from across the globe to show how rising tides will impact the world, and NASA notes that in the last 20 years alone the sea has risen by 2 inches.
How quickly sea levels will rise in the future is dependent on how we treat the Earth in the coming years. The Paris Agreement wants countries to limit global warming, but not every country in the world is committed to this agreement. So, as the Earth warms the sea warms too, melting ice which then flows into the sea and increases sea levels. How the Netherlands will handle this enormous challenge is yet to be seen.