© Mercator, Gerardus, Ortelius, Abraham (16th Century AD), Belgian coast
During this era of climate change and associated sea level rise, it is vital to develop a sustainable relationship with the sea. This will pose a major challenge in the future, especially for Flanders and the North Sea. However, this is not the first time that relative sea level rise threatened the coastal plain and its inhabitants. For thousands of years, living close to the sea has been risky. Both research into past environmental conditions and the evolution of the coastal landscape, and how people adapt to life in coastal regions can help us understand sustainable management of the coastline in the future.
The aim of the Testerep project is to capture the evolution of the Flemish coastal landscape over the last 5000 years in more detail. Both in time and space. In this way we will gain more insight into the impact of natural changes (e.g. sea level rise) and human interventions (e.g. construction of dikes) on the morphodynamics of the coast.
To this end, the project focuses on one piece of the Flemish coastlinein particular: The former Testerep peninsula. The southern part of Testerep has since been transformed into polders and beach, while the northern part, including medieval Ostend, was swallowed by the sea.
… for policy makers, blue economy
and the general public
To study the evolution and eventual demise of Testerep over the past 5,000 years, scientists will supplement and analyze existing data on ancient natural and human landscape features with new terrestrial and marine data (see 'Research'). The scientific data and knowledge acquired within the project will be passed on to various stakeholders from the policy and the business world and the general public (see 'Valorisation'). To this end, the project will focus strongly on the translation of the acquired knowledge into visualizations and communication products (see 'Results'). In this way, the Testerep project will be able to raise awareness among the general public about coastal dynamics and vulnerability, stimulate tourism, support heritage management and provide insights for sustainable coastal management in the future.
Expertise: Terrestrial data en archeology
More information about the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)?
Expertise: Marine en intertidal data
More information about the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ)?
Expertise: Hydrodynamic modeling
More information about the hydraulics and geotechnics department of the KULeuven?