The first Dutch Dialogues were held in New Orleans, and similar workshops have been held in New York, Bridgeport, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Los Angeles. The Dutch approach to living with water integrates flood risk mitigation, engineering, spatial planning, urban design, environmental restoration, community amenities and economic development. While such integration is challenging, it provides an incredible opportunity for innovative approaches to improve the quality of life and economies of waterfront communities such as Norfolk and Hampton, the two cities participating in this workshop.

The road to a Dutch Dialogue in Hampton Roads began in 2008 when the City of Norfolk awarded the local office of Fugro Atlantic – a well-respected Dutch geotechnical engineering firm – a project to conduct a city-wide evaluation of coastal flooding risks.

The opportunity to conduct a Dutch Dialogue in Hampton Roads was first discussed in June, 2012 during meetings between Norfolk City and Royal Netherlands Embassy staff. In April 2014, Norfolk proposed a broader Hampton Roads approach, making the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC) a crucial partner.

HRPDC introduced the concept to its membership, and hosted Embassy staff and their partners from New Orleans. HRPDC received many positive responses from counties and localities, and twenty potential focal areas were identified throughout the region. Over the course of 4 months, the focal areas were narrowed by HRPDC, Embassy staff, and others.

In June of 2015, Dutch Dialogues Virginia took place. Hampton's Newmarket Creek was one of two areas studied, with the focus on two specific areas (right). Norfolk's Tidewater Drive District was the other area. The six-day intensive workshop featured opportunities for public involvement, site visits, and ideas for future study. Please see below for media and products from the June 2015 workshop.

Experts offer ideas to reduce flooding

On June 15, 2015, a delegation of planners, engineers and architects from the Netherlands who came here to study flooding in Hampton and Norfolk presented their ideas for long-term solutions.