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The Merwe-Vierhaven area (M4H) is an old port site measuring approximately 100 hectares on the north bank of the Nieuwe Maas. It was once one of the largest fruit ports in the world, where storage and handling of various types of fruit took place daily. The port has now been transformed into a new residential and working area. A wide range of businesses has been established in the area.

Merwe-Vierhaven area from the air with the Juice terminal in the foreground
Photo: Aeroview - Dick Sellenraad

The adaptation strategy for this area combines measures from the ‘keeping water out’ and ‘living with water’ strategies to manage the flood risk. The figure below shows the ‘living with water’ option in dark green and the ‘keeping water out’ option in light green. The arrows in the area show the evacuation routes.

Map of the Merwe-Vierhaven area on water safety. Arrows visualise the evacuation routes


For the dike zones and the central area, the principal approach consists of ‘keeping water out’. In this zone, the challenge is to integrate a dike upgrade in the urban structure. In areas with monumental, landmark status or capital-intensive buildings, raising the ground level is not an option, and wetproofing or dryproofing the buildings is suggested. The elevated construction of the planned regional bicycle path (at 3.9 metres) will maintain access to the area, even during a flood. The bridge to the Roof Park provides an evacuation route.


The principal approach for the piers is ‘living with water’. The roads connecting the piers to the dike zones are built higher for evacuation and accessibility purposes. Buildings on the piers must be made flood-resilient (in the case of existing buildings) and constructed in flood-resilient ways (in the case of new buildings) to manage the flood risk. Wetproofing may be adopted as an approach if the first floor or cellar of a building is not vulnerable to flood damage. In the case of new developments, the proposal is to raise awareness among developers of flood risk through communications, so that this will be included in the development of the area.

Risks and measures

Check your flood risk and the measures needed to protect your business.