Open Access
Translator Disclaimer
1 May 2012 COVER PHOTOGRAPH AND FRONT MATTER: ERODING DUNES, COAST OF THE NETHERLANDS

Eroding dunes and a steel mill occur side by side on this September 29, 2008 photograph of the Netherlands coast near the town of Heemskerk. The image captures the vulnerability of both the natural and the developed part of the southern North Sea shoreline to coastal erosion, and highlights the need for coastal-protection measures such as large-scale sand nourishments. The steel mill is an exponent of one of Europe's economically most valuable regions. It is located at the groin-delimited entrance to the North Sea Canal. This canal to the port of Amsterdam was dug through the dune belt in the 19th century to directly connect the city and the North Sea. On either side of the canal, coastal dunes extend about 5 km inland from the shore, offering ample protection from storm surges to the adjacent coastal lowland. The frontal dune that marks the seaward side of the dune belt is part of the primary water-defense system of the Netherlands. Its crest height has to meet safety standards defined on the basis of calculated exceedence probabilities, giving it the appearance and function of a sand dike. In an effort to combine this safety function with natural processes, the sand dike is locally allowed to develop into a slightly undulating frontal dune with blowouts that allow inland sand transport by wind. This approach is part of a policy called dynamic dune preservation. Where dune erosion does not form a threat to the country's economic and human interests, measures are taken to add some flexibility to a formerly rigid approach of keeping the coastline in place. On the other hand, the government has reinforced its efforts to hold the sea at bay around coastal towns and at weak links in our chain of dunes. At some of these locations the coast is even prograding a bit, primarily in response to beach and shoreface nourishments. Despite its proximity to the North Sea Canal, no nourishment has taken place at the location shown in the photograph. Here, the coastline has receded at an average rate of about 1 m/yr during the past 50 years. Erosion takes place mainly during extreme events. At Heemskerk, one recent erosive event temporarily exposed 18th-century storm-surge beds that may help to set future safety standards. (Photography by Marcel Bakker, Geological Survey of the Netherlands, Haarlem, The Netherlands).

i1551-5036-28-3-ii-f01.tif
"COVER PHOTOGRAPH AND FRONT MATTER: ERODING DUNES, COAST OF THE NETHERLANDS," Journal of Coastal Research 28(3), (1 May 2012). https://doi.org/10.2112/1551-5036-28.3.ii
Published: 1 May 2012
JOURNAL ARTICLE
PAGES


Share
SHARE
RIGHTS & PERMISSIONS
Get copyright permission
Back to Top