SBO Project: TESTEREP: The Evolution of the Flemish Seascape (5000 BPpresent) – TEsterep REconstructed for Policy making and Public engagement

Project Details


Maintaining a sustainable relationship with the North Sea in an era of
rapid climate change is one of Flanders’ great challenges today and for
the future. Relative sea-level rise is not only a threat for the coastal
plain and its society now, but has posed a risk throughout time. The
interaction between past environmental conditions, the
paleogeomorphology and the strategies developed by people to live in
this coastal landscape, has been pivotal in shaping the large-scale
coastal dynamics (e.g. silting up of tidal inlets and land loss through
erosion) that have led to the present-day situation. This past evolution
can offer valuable lessons for future actions aimed at creating a more
sustainable coastline.
The former Testerep peninsula, once located on the Flemish coast, is the
ideal case study to derive such lessons. Its preserved southern portion is
now part of the polders and beach, while its northern side, including the
medieval city of Ostend, has been lost to the sea. To study the evolution
and eventual demise of Testerep over the past 5000 years, existing data
on historic natural (e.g. tidal inlets) and manmade (e.g. dikes) features
will be supplemented with new on- and offshore data from LiDAR,
seismic, magnetic and EMI surveys, cores, excavations, and samples for
pollen, radiocarbon and OSL. All information will be integrated and
studied using GIS analyses and morphological and hydrodynamic
modelling to advance multidisciplinary research across the sea-land
boundary. Resulting products will include palaeogeographic maps, stateof-
the-art 3D reconstructions and interactive 3D simulations. The new
multidisciplinary knowledge and powerful visuals, highlighting the
natural and human-induced past coastal landscape change, will be used
to raise public awareness on coastal dynamics and current threats, to
stimulate blue tourism, to support heritage management, and to inspire
sustainable coastal management strategies for the future.
Effective start/end date1/10/2130/09/25

Flemish discipline codes

  • Virtual reality and related simulation


  • long-term coastal landscape change
  • alaeo-reconstructions