I live on the south bank of the river Waal, and one of my favourite pastimes is taking a walk along the river. A river that is picturesque, and quiet – but not always so. We’ve even had to evacuate the area in 1994 because the water level in the rivers was so high the dikes threatened to break. No fun, let me tell you … 

Living in Zaltbommel is like living in a bathtub between two major rivers: Waal on the north side and Maas on the south side. Our area has long been an island connected to the rest of the Netherlands by ferry. First railway bridge in 1870, first traffic bridge around 1930. Very isolated. 

Ruminating about this as I walked along the river, I realised that it may not be the wisest decision ever to stay in the area –  the famous ostrich with its head in the sand came to mind. But a series of measures have been taken since 1994 that I have confidence in. The master plan was called ‘room for the river’ and dit not depend on making the dikes higher and stronger.  We are giving the river more room by creating side channels, cross grooves and flood planes. In these areas – taken out of agricultural use – a lot of ‘new nature’ has been developed, nature that allows for flooding once and a while. Which in its turn makes walking even nicer.

So Zaltbommel it is – I like living in a small town – we have almost all facilities, and I like to see some well-known faces when I go to the supermarket.  The area is also very pretty – this month the apple trees are  in bloom, cow parsley and rapeseed color the hedges and those quintessential Dutch towns that stretch themselves along the river dikes are putting their best foot forward. 



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