Sums

So, some 80 companies have thrown their weight behind a scheme to build a large peninsula into the North Sea which would not only create much needed land for housing, but also protect the existing coastline from erosion and rising sea levels.


The usual suspects have signed up to show their support – the banks (nice fat loans), research institutes (nice fat contracts) and the prime minister (nice prestige project which is good for the Netherlands’ reputation abroad).
The peninsula, which will stretch into the sea close to Hoek van Holland, will have room for 10,000 new homes and, of course, the obligatory nature reserve.
Even the cost of this master plan – just €50m, according to the Financieele Dagblad – is in its favour.
Doubtless, the contracts will be signed within months. But hang on a minute. Can the cost of this venture really be just €50m?
Sidelines would venture to suggest someone got their sums wrong. Happens quite a lot with big infrastructure projects. The Betuwe railway track finally cost €4.6bn to build and that was over dry land. The Hague-Rotterdam light rail project came with a price tag of €1bn. Land reclamation for just the first stage of the Rotterdam port extension will cost €1bn.
But somehow creating 75-hectare peninsula big enough for 10,000 houses in the stormy North Sea will cost just €50m?

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