Mechelen’s exciting new waterside space was opened in July 2018 by Bart Somers, Mayor of Mechelen and Chris Danckaerts, deputy of De Vlaamse Waterweg nv. This ambitious and high quality investment, part of the Water Resilient Cities Interreg project, is helping cities to rethink the role of rainwater and to adapt to climate change.
The Inner Dijle river flows above-ground again in Mechelen’s Zandpoortvest, after being hidden from sight for decades. The main River Dijle is now diverted around the city, but the Inner Dijle is a historic section with limited flow that acts as a water buffer during heavy rains – but it is also an important feature that contributes to the attractiveness of the city.
At Zanpoortvest, the banks are redesigned so people can enjoy and use them freely. To the south side of the Dijle, a gently sloping bank with wildflowers is planted enhancing biodiversity. On the northern side, a new square connects the river with the entrance of the nearby university college. Wide stone steps and a gentle incline guide people from the square to a lovely waterside area. Steps on which people sit create pleasant places to stop and enjoy the view along the Inner Dijle. Small boats can moor at a new jetty among the reed beds. Newly-planted tall trees will enhance the square’s green appearance.
The Belgium television report can be found here.