The model, which measures roughly six by eight meters and is made of wood and polystyrene, was laid out Tuesday in a huge water tank to simulate wind, waves, and storms, in a presentation for several potential investors.
According to MARIN director Bas Buchner, discussions are underway with the local authority of crowded Haarlemmermeer and the Lelystad airport, both close to the burgeoning capital of Amsterdam, the daily Telegraaf reported.
But the project remains at the early stages, the institute said.
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The islands would be anchored to the seabed and also moored to the shore. But tests still need to be carried out on how they will withstand weather conditions and tidal movements and how to make them self-sufficient in energy and resources, as well as on the effects on marine life — and the cost.
The "Space at Sea" project in collaboration with other countries has won about 1.6 million euros ($1.8 million) in European subsidies to carry out three years of studies into different uses for such islands — from seaweed and fish farms to floating cities and ports.
"Technically it could be feasible in 10 to 20 years from today," Waals said.
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According to MARIN such solutions are part of a "blue future" seeking sustainable and durable ways to use the oceans and seas, which cover 70 percent of the Earth's surface.
Under growing pressure for space "the Netherlands will have to divert back towards the water," Buchner told the Telegraaf. "And we have always been pioneers in this fight."