THE 1995 flood (the near disaster)

Zandzakken watersnoodramp 1995
Zandzakken aangebracht ter versteviging van de dijk

At the end of January 1995, the already high water levels rose due to persistent heavy rainfall. The center of the city of Cologne was flooded, at Lobith, where the Rhine flows into the Netherlands, the water level rose two meters in one day, at Zaltbommel the Waal rose to one meter. On January 31, a record height of 16.63 meters above sea level was measured at Lobith. In the entire river area, the water was almost to the top of the dikes.

Ondergelopen kades en straten 1995
Ondergelopen kades en straten in 1995

On January 31, it was decided to evacuate a number of large areas along the Waal. In the Ooijpolder and Land van Maas en Waal, a total of 30,000 residents had to evacuate, in the Betuwe 140,000. On February 1, a dike at Ochten aan de Waal began to shift and a great alarm was raised. Hundreds of soldiers and dozens of local volunteers were deployed to make the dike heavier with sandbags and the village was evacuated more quickly on the order of the mayor. In the meantime, the water at Lobith had risen further to 16.68 meters above sea level.

From February 2, the water began to sink rapidly and I was afraid that now that the pressure of the high water dropped, the water-saturated dikes would collapse. Fortunately, the village was spared and the residents were able to return to their homes from 4 February.

Ondergelopen snelweg A2 1995
Deel van de snelweg A2 was ondergelopen

This near-flood in 1995 drastically changed thinking about safety along the rivers. In the context of the Room for the River program , the dikes and floodplain landscape would change enormously. More information about Room for the River can also be found on this website.

Ondergelopen kade in NIjmegen
Ondergelopen kade in Nijmegen

A video report by Omroep Gelderland about the extremely high water levels of the rivers in 1995 that almost led to a major flood disaster!