Having lived in The Netherlands for a brief spell, I know firsthand about the waterlogged nation’s intimate relationship with H2O
. After dealing with five months of perpetual drizzle, I came away soggy but with a newfound respect for dikes, drains, windmills and dams
— any works of engineering designed to manage water in flood-prone areas of this elevation-challenged country.
, a new building project designed by Koen Olthuis of Waterstudio
— the “floating Dutchman,” if you will — works with
the flood instead of against
it. The Citadel, when completed, with be the first floating apartment complex in the world. Talk about cold-water flats …
Part of a larger project called New Water
, the Citadel
will be built on a polder
, a tract of reclaimed, below-sea-level land that is constantly pumped dry to prevent flooding. Although typical polders in The Netherlands are surrounded with dikes, the Citadel will be built on a polder that is intentionally flooded, creating a shallow lake of sorts with rising and falling water levels.
Built on a floating concrete caisson, the Citadel will be home to 60 densely arranged (not a new concept in The Netherlands) luxury apartment units with terraces, parking spaces and boat slips.
Energy efficiency is an integral part of the Citadel's aquatic design: the complex will require 25 percent less energy than similar structures built on land because of water cooling techniques. The apartment units themselves will be prefabricated modules, and aluminum will play an important part in the structure given that it stands up against corrosion better than other materials.
I dig the concept and applaud Olthuis for working with the precarious geography that Mother Nature gave his climate change-affected homeland. I can see floating polder complexes catching on in The Netherlands although with the stark white exteriors, palm trees and speedboats, the Citadel appears to be more South Beach than Zuid-Holland.
For budget travelers in The Netherlands venturing outside of Amsterdam, here's a personal recommendation for another kind of floating accommodation: The Botel
in the beautiful city of Maastricht.