The Dutch way

‘What do YOU think of the problem?’ In the Netherlands it is common to hear this question when you are affected by a large civil engineering issue, or in other words, when you are a stakeholder in the project.

In Vietnam not everybody gets the chance to speak out. We decided to use the Dutch approach and interviewed the Hoi An community.

Restaurant owners, bicycle keepers, life guards, salesmen on the beach. All are experiencing the problem of an eroding coast. It is clearly visible why something has to be done, but what people are expecting from a solution is something you would never get to know without asking. This is, however, easier said than done when you cannot speak Vietnamese and they cannot speak English. The eagerness with which our questionnaires were filled in already gave away some of the feelings the local community is currently dealing with. And after translation it became clear that the beach and its related tourism are of great importance for their life and income.

Then there are the resort managers: dealing with major structural and economic losses, but calm. The worst thing that can happen is closing of the resort and having to look for a job somewhere else. They do have their own problems though. Cooperation with other resorts to tackle the problem effectively is difficult and the protection of their own property is often the only thing they can do. But this does not bring the beach back.

It is sometimes sad to see that those who need the beach the most, are the ones that have the least power to do something about it. Next to a well-protected resort, the local people are working hard to protect their family restaurant with 20 liter sand bags that will not last long. The tropical typhoon that is currently raging over the Philippines is about to send some large waves to the coast of Hoi An in a few days. Although interesting for the project, knowing that it will probably eat several more meters out of the valuable beach gives us some mixed feelings about this prospect.

Redacteur Redactie

Heb je een vraag of opmerking over dit artikel?

Comments are closed.