The sea has always been an existential threat to the Netherlands, and always will be. I lived in Amsterdam in 1969, which seems (and is) a long time ago but on the one occasion when I was taken by friends to visit some people living in some of the areas that had been devastated in the 1953 flood, those people had all lived through that flood with its c1,800 death rate in that country and it still had an impact on their everyday lives. I can't remember much detail, but I do remember the overwhelming respect for the sea, tinged with fear, and I don't think any of those people would have thought that it could ever be conquered, only mitigated against. What little I know about Dutch government plans since 1953, and the immense works that have been carried out, is that they increasingly incorporate the principle that not all flooding can be prevented, nor is it desirable to do so. Pick the areas you can do something about, and leave the rest. Such a policy hardly exists in this country, with one or two exceptions on the East coast of England, and then the Environment Agency or the National Trust gets all the flack. The British coastline is vastly greater than the Dutch one, obviously, but if Dawlish was in Holland I don't think they'd be throwing a lot of resources at it, but instead they'd be building that alternative line.