Following a lovely lunch at Fort Lent, a former military defence fort at Nijmegen, now a wine bar and local restaurant, we visited the National Liberation Museum to see a short film and hear a local (retired) reservist talk about the significance of the Canadians' role in the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945. We were also able to visit the war cemetery where more than 2200 fallen soldiers are laid to rest, most of them Canadian. Many of our group were moved—perhaps more than we expected—by the power of the place, its stories, and the deep absence of presence among the white rows of crosses.
We concluded the day’s tour with a short visit to Waterrijk Park Lingezegen, a new parkland with several bioengineered wetlands being installed for the purpose of water retention and storage (to be used for flood water retention and storage in case of drought). As the clouds moved in and the rains returned, it only emphasized the wetlands’ potential as yet another tool in the elaborate kit of Dutch flood management.
This was my last day on the tour, and I’m sorry to leave the group as they head off to Almere for the final day of “Dutch Discovery.” I’m very appreciative of the strategic opportunities that emerged for RUW, all of which presented through a thoughtful and excellent organisation of events, sites and speakers. I’m looking forward to following up with both my Canadian and Dutch colleagues upon my return. Meanwhile, I have already heard from our colleagues at Wetskills that Prof. Dave Atkinson and his 35 Environmental and Urban Sustainability students have arrived for their field course in The Netherlands, and are keenly engaged in their tour. I was sorry not to be able to join them today, as our paths crossed in Amsterdam.
I thank Ryerson Urban Water and also the Faculty of Community Services (Dean Usha George) for supporting my travel on this excellent professional development venture.