Global sea level is rising at an increased rate since the late 19th century as a result of rising global mean temperatures. This rise is geographically non-uniform, with substantial spatial differences, and in the latest decade faster than expected. New evidence suggests that more rapid changes than indicated in the Fourth IPCC report take place in the two large continental ice sheets, Greenland and Antarctica. Consequently, the projected sea level rise threatens low-lying countries like the Netherlands. The process of ‘climate-proofing’ the flood protection system of the country offers, however, new opportunities for innovative solutions, providing not only higher flood protection, but also possibilities for multifunctional land-use.