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Posted on: November 8, 2023

Press Release: Officials to Travel to the Netherlands On Resiliency Study Tour

Public Information Office

160 Duke of Gloucester Street

Annapolis, Maryland 21401


Media Contact: Mitchelle Stephenson, 410-972-7724 or


Media Contact: Mitchelle Stephenson, 410-972-7724 or


City, County, and State Officials to Travel to the
Netherlands On Resiliency Study Tour and Exchange Program

Five-day Tour to Include Flood Mitigation and Cycling Infrastructure Review

ANNAPOLIS, MD (November 8, 2023) - Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley and Maryland Secretary of Planning Rebecca Flora, in partnership with the Resilience Authority, will lead a joint delegation of City of Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, and State of Maryland officials to the Netherlands to study resiliency infrastructure, flood protection, urban planning, alternative transportation (including pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure), resiliency financing, and economic development.

The group will depart on Saturday, November 11 and return on Saturday, November 18. The participants will be based in The Hague (Den Haag) and travel by bicycle or train to daily destinations. Working with guides from the Dutch Cycling Embassy and the Netherlands Water Partnership, the group will meet with Dutch government officials, urban planners, and researchers to learn about sustainable growth best practices, preservation of historical and cultural resources, data-informed decision making, inclusive resiliency planning practices, flood management, and active mobility. They will also have the opportunity to see world-leading resilience infrastructure including: the Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier; the Noordwaardpolder flood and farming zones; and an in-dune Parking Garage at Katwijk aan Zee. Cities on the itinerary include Rotterdam, Delft, and Zuid-Holland/Zeeland. 

"As the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Planning, a large part of my role is to learn about the most efficient sustainable growth and resiliency planning practices and how to best utilize these resources in Maryland," said Rebecca Flora, AICP, LEED ND / BD+C. "Other cultures and countries are studying climate change and sea level rise to best understand how we can all preserve our historical resources, help our most vulnerable populations, and support economic development. I look forward to bringing many of these ideas back to share with Governor Moore and his entire Administration to help benefit every corner of Maryland."

In October of 2022, a delegation from The Hague visited Annapolis to learn about Annapolis flood mitigation plans and the structure and purpose of the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Resilience Authority. Officials discussed the challenges faced by waterfront communities and the need for  reciprocal engagement between waterfront communities in America and the Netherlands. During the October visit, Mayor Buckley also hosted the delegation on a tour of the Annapolis Maritime Museum and a sailing trip aboard the skipjack “Wilma Lee.” The group also spent time with the Annapolis City Council during a City Council Work Session focused on resiliency. During and following their visit, a reciprocal invitation was extended to City officials.

More than 50 percent of the Netherlands sits below sea level. For centuries, the Dutch have used protective dikes to hold back the water. As climate change has increased flooding threats due to rising sea levels, higher frequency of heavy rains, and severe storm events, the Dutch have continued to advance their water adaptive practices and technology. Today, they are world leaders in flood management, resilience infrastructure, and alternative transportation.  

Communities in Maryland, especially Annapolis and other communities in the Chesapeake Bay, face similar challenges. Of Maryland’s 24 counties, 17 have locations that sit at or below sea level.  

“Annapolis is facing significant resilience challenges in the years ahead. We have an incredible opportunity to see and learn from the world leaders in flood-protection; resilience infrastructure; alternative transportation and sustainable economic development,” said Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley. “In the next few years, our City Council and Department Directors will need to make many significant resiliency decisions on behalf of our community. It’s vital that we are educated and informed, along with our State and County counterparts who will be essential partners in this work. I am deeply grateful to everyone in the Netherlands and at the Dutch Embassy who have put together such an amazing and robust program and I can’t wait to share what we learn with everyone in Annapolis.”

The delegation will include: Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley; Maryland Secretary of Planning Rebecca Flora; Maryland Department of Emergency Management Disaster Risk Reduction Director Sara Bender, members of the Annapolis City Council, including: Ald. Karma O’Neill, Ald. Brooks Schandelmeier, Ald. DaJuan Gay, and Ald. Rob Savidge; Annapolis City Manager Michael Mallinoff, Annapolis Deputy City Manager for Resilience and Sustainability Jacqueline Guild, Annapolis Director of Transportation Markus Moore, and Annapolis Director of Public Works Burr Vogel; Tanya Asman, Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner, Anne Arundel County Department of Transportation; Sponsor Patrick Denker, Denker Foundation. Julien Jacques of Make Your Mark Media will document the study tour through photography and video. 

The study tour will be paid for through a mixture of grant funds ($7,000 International City/County Management Association and $1,000 Baltimore Metropolitan Council), private donations ($20,000 Denker Foundation contribution), participant self-funding ($9,000), and City of Annapolis funds ($34,000) allocated in the 2024 budget for special programs, education, and training. 

Program costs are approximately $25,000 (€23,600); Travel costs (airfare, accommodates, local transportation and meals) are estimated to be $45,000.  

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