Houses and bridges sink in more places and faster

The soil is subsiding faster and in larger parts of the Netherlands than expected. Sand soils, for example, are also affected by subsidence as a result of the falling groundwater level.

This can be seen on bodemdalingskaart.nl, where thanks to satellite measurements the subsidence is shown with millimetre accuracy. According to TU Delft, the renewed map also shows that the impact on roads, bridges and railways is greater than previously assumed.

“We see a lot of large infrastructure subsidence in all sorts of places,” says Delft professor Ramon Hanssen. Older structures in particular can be put at risk as a result. “We have to start where it’s needed the most and for that these measurements are very important,” says Hanssen.

Last week, the government was already advised to do more to prevent subsidence in peat meadows. But now it appears that homeowners in sandy areas in the north and east, but also in parts of Brabant, are also being affected.

Two years ago, there were reports of foundation problems in 60 municipalities; that figure has now risen to 180. The KCAF Knowledge Centre for Tackling Foundation Problems confirms this after reports in de Volkskrant.

With a million houses, subsidence is imminent’

Sagging was previously mainly a concern for the residents of houses with a foundation of wooden piles. “But houses with a foundation of steel or concrete also get problems nowadays,” says director Dick de Jong. The KCAF estimates that one million houses are at risk of subsidence. It costs about 70,000 to 80,000 euros to rebuild a house.

The new soil subsidence map is accessible to everyone. Hanssen hopes that as many people, companies and institutions as possible will take a close look at the situation in their neighbourhood. But he emphasises that the interpretation of the data can be difficult. “So it’s wise to have an expert take a look if you want to know what effect it may have on your home