In the past years an increase of flood hazards could be observed world-wide. While experts still discuss whether these hazards are the onset of a trend due to climate change or merely the consequence of cyclic changes there is a strong push on European politicians and decision-makers to reduce the vulnerability of urban areas along most of the big European rivers. Conventional flood management strategies which are targeting at the defence of these flood prone areas by dikes and walls are not an adequate answer. In general the investments for these defence structures can not be provided ad hoc. Additionally they will reduce the retention capacity of the river which needs to be compensated to avoid increased flood risk downstream. However possibilities for these compensation measures are limited. Looking for more economic and sustainable flood defence strategies, a great potential is seen in an improved flood resilience of urban areas. This comprises individual preventive and emergency measures at buildings and municipal infrastructure and a landuse policy to adapt building activities to the risk. It is the objective of this paper to illustrate this potential of flood resilience. Various techniques adapting buildings for flood will be shown, the preventible flood damage quantified and requirements as well as limits of flood resilience are described. Finally strategies of flood management are developed to make use of this potential.