Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dutch plant idea of Tulip Island

The Dutch government is considering a radical plan to build a £7 billion island in the shape of a tulip in the North Sea to relieve pressure on its overcrowded cities and protect the coastline from rising sea levels. Jan Peter Balkenende, the prime minister, has asked a government advisory body, the Innovation Platform, to study the feasibility of reclaiming land about twice the size of the Isle of Wight. The findings will be presented to MPs and engineers on January 17. Tulip Island is the brainchild of Joop Atsma, a member of Balkenende’s centre-right Christian Democratic Appeal party, who points out that about half the country’s 16m people live below sea level. He is proposing to build an island of between 120,000 and 250,000 acres off the coast of the Randstad, the country’s most densely inhabited region around Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Hague and Utrecht. “All over the world people associate tulips with the Netherlands”, Atsma said. Reclaimed land funded through a public-private partnership would be used for agriculture, recreation and for both low-cost and luxury housing. The island could also protect the vulnerable coastline from flooding.

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