I’d be most grateful if any Dopers would be able to correct this welcoming speech.
It will be delivered by a local politician in three weeks. I have, hopefully, corrected the worst mistakes. Some of them would have really caused a lot of merriment, for all the wrong reasons. Could you have kept a straight face if confronted with an official talking about “a naughty river, behind new dykes?” No? That;'s what I thought.
So, are there really glaring mistakes left in this speech? Let me know, and don’t be polite about it
On behalf of the Governor of the Provice of Limburg, I wish you all a very warm welcome in our provincial building. We are here in the very seat of the government of the Province of Limburg. Yes, this province has e real ‘Governor’, and the building is therefore commonly called the “Gouvernement” (photo of Gouvernement). In the place where we are right now, the provincial parliament convenes every month
The provincial government is very proud to haven been asked to host this international conference.
We believe that the city of Maastricht is an apt place for this conference, as the city is situated in the heart of Europe, it’s historical role in the signing of the European Treaty and because Maastricht is so very near the Belgian and German borders.
The province of Limburg is eager/has the ambion ambitious to cooperate across it’s -very long- international borders (map of Limburg and international surroundings).
In this very building the treaty of Maastricht was signed in 1992, as a consequence of which the Euro was introduced in the European Union. You can see the table where the treaty was signed exhibited in the hall outside this room.
Furthermore, the city and the building are situated along the river Meuse, a major river crossing the borders between France, Belgium and The Netherlands. The Meuse’s tributaries extend in Gemany and Luxemburg). In fact, the architect designed this Gouvernement building right on top of the river Meuse. which you can see if you look out of the window. Looking south, the hills in Belgium are visible. For all these reasons, (and let’s not forget the exellent catering in this building, which I can vouch for personally) the organisation committee thought the Maastricht Gouvernent it would be the right place for this conference, and we happily agreed.
There is another reason why we accepted the invitation to host this conference. This is because the river Meuse, which is usually so calm and beautiful, can turn destructive. Just in the past hundred years, the Meuse valley in the Netherlands saw three major floods, as well as dozens of minor ones. Whole villages were inundated in 1926, 1993 and 1995. The damage was enormous. Only large scale evacuations prevented human deaths. (photo inundations along river Meuse). The flooded area covered almost one tenth of our province. After the 1995 inundations we built emergency levees in Limburg. Furthermore, we are now working on deepening and widening the river to prevent future inundations. In 2003 these earthworks were put to the test, as as another peak flood of almost 3.000 m3/s reached Limburg through the river Meuse. Our efforts proved succesfull: not three villages, but only one, and just a part of that one village, was flooded,.
Although the Meuse is by far the most important river in Limburg, there are many other small rivers which cross the Dutch borders with either Germany or Belgium. Further upstream, tributaries from Luxemburg and France flow to the main river. Therefore the Meuse River is a typical example of an international (European) River which needs an international (European) approach.
Evidently, a good flood risk policy is of great importance for all of us to manage flood risks now and in the future. The predicted climate change has only made the importance greater. The European Flood Directive and the development of Flood Risk Management Plans provide good opportunities to strengthen our flood risk policy and to cooperate with our international neighbours to manage and diminish the flood threaths.
The Dutch province of Limburg plays a part in three important aspects of flood risk management: prevention, spatial planning, and crisis management. That is why the province will be the one to coordinate the implementation of the Flood Directive in this region. For the implementation of the Flood Risk Management Plans the province is highly reliant on other institutions, especially the two water boards and the two safety organisations (What is the English expression?) in the province.
The province of Limburg considers the River Basin approach provided in the (European?) Flood Directive as essential to effectively diminish flood risk in the main rivers. For instance, measures to reduce peak discharges should be implemented in the entire international X basin in order to reduce peak levels along the X but – at the same time - also in its tributaries. Integration with other goals like nature development and enhancing environmental quality are necessary to deal with the intensive use of land. /scarcity of land/pressure on land (pm check engelse term).
The Dutch water boards have already provided a substantial amount of water retention in small catchments and tributaries of the river X by small basins, land use planning and remeandering of streams (photo “regenwaterbuffers”, “hermeandering”). In the main river the … project just north of X on the border with Belgium is under implementation, in which the river is widened by selective gravel extraction resulting in nature development. Along the river Meuse two large retention areas were realised. More measures will be taken in the next decade(s).
Together with all relevant partners in and outside the province of Limburg we aim to make careful, (thorough, effective…) Flood Risk Management Plans for the River Basin. Plans which take nature into consideration.
In X we call the river X often “mother” X to pay respect to her natural character.
She will need natural room in her international Basin, otherwise she will take this room herself. (not a very mother-like behaviour, by the way)
Let us together cherish our Mother River, by loving her beauty, saving and improving her natural assets, and make use of her multiple functions; at the other hand, take care of her wild dissipations, and guard her from collateral damage during her wilder days.
I wish you a good Symposium.