Climate change and sea-level rise are expected to lead to an increase of extreme flooding events. This increase could be combined with possible changes in the frequency and intensity of storms, thus leading to more frequent and higher storm surges in the coastal areas of Northern Europe. However the magnitude of such changes remains uncertain. This uncertainty might be reflected in the risk awareness of the public. Experts are arguing for the need of adaptation to climate change at both public and private level. Anticipatory adaptation is cost efficient when compared to reactive adaptation. Nevertheless, private anticipatory adaptation in Northern Europe still seems to be the exception rather than the rule. This paper addresses the actual adaptation and adaptation intention to the risk of coastal flooding and sea-level rise, at private level, in three Northern European Countries: The Netherlands, Denmark and Germany. A survey using a standardised questionnaire with closed response formats, addressed to residents in risk areas, is conducted during the storm surge season. The project consists of three parts. The first part intends to quantify the status quo of anticipatory adaptation of risk area residents. Therefore, various options of private anticipatory adaptation are classified. This approach allows a differentiated view of adaptation, which varies in detail. Adaptation options are distinguished according to their costs and efforts in the two categories soft adaptation and hard adaptation. In the second part, scenarios of several futures are designed in order to explore which adaptation options would be realized according to different possible futures. In the third part, the project intends to develop insights in the intention to adapt in the future and to identify the primary influencing factors of this adaptation process. The Protection motivation theory (PMT) (Rogers 1983, in Prentice-Dunn and Rogers 1986), which originates from the field of health psychology, has been used here to design a questionnaire exploring such factors. According to PMT, self-protective behavior depends on risk perception or threat appraisal as well as on the appraisal of adaptation or coping appraisal. Demographic data and data, which refer to the housing situation of people, are also collected in order to clarify, which factors explain actual adaptation and adaptation intention in a better way. The theory and methods employed in this project are discussed and the preliminary results of the survey are presented. Related Conference topic: 1.b, 4.c or 5.b, presentation at young researchers workshop