The Waterschap is the water board, the government agency responsible for water management. With half our country below sea level, that is a big responsibility. Just last night, the water boards decided to close the storm surge barriers between the North Sea and the rivers to prevent major flooding.
Water boards have been around for a very long time. The Hoogheemraadschap Rijnland water board for example, was invested by count Floris V of Holland in 1286. That water board exists to this day and ensures that my own house isn’t flooded and that we have fresh water to drink.
Water management shaped Dutch culture and values. To claim land from the see and keep it dry, you need to collaborate on a regional level. Compromises need to be made. To this day, collaboration and compromise are at the core of Dutch politics. Even our right-wing parties are probably more socialist than most left-wing parties in other countries.