"My German colleague Sigmund Schlie gave a presentation about our expertise during the conference session on 'Good practices and solutions for revitalisation of inland waterways – Dutch experience', not failing to mention that we are well established in Poland and have more than a hundred Polish employees. Our message is: we make use of the expertise already present in the country, and augment that where necessary. There’s give and take on both sides.
What’s really interesting to me is regulating free-flowing rivers using weirs and locks; thanks to new technologies, we can opt for fish-friendly solutions and even incorporate ways to generate energy. Viewed from that perspective, the low-technology state of affairs in Poland is actually an advantage. When you’re starting from scratch, as it were, you don’t have to work around existing, older investments that are still in use. In a country like the Netherlands, that’s more difficult.
I also think the Dutch sector has a valuable contribution to make in finding integrated ways to develop, organise and implement projects, whilst giving dialogue a high priority. For example, you have to listen to the concerns of nature organisations, although those interests don’t necessarily have to be in conflict – just look at the Dutch concept of 'building with nature', for example."