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This specific Dutch theme reflects the age-long struggle of the Dutch against the water. Countless times the sea flooded the land and rivers burst their banks.

Delta works

At the flood of 1953 in the south-west of the Netherlands there were over 1800 casualties.

The Deltaplan for closing the estuaries was born.

De Browersdam

 

 

www.deltawerken.com

© Stichting Deltawerken Online

Below sealevel

About 30% of the Netherlands lies below the sealevel, so the Dutch became real masters in keeping their feet dry. It was either pumping or drowning.

Masterpieces of hydraulic engineering

Dikes and pumping-stations are evidence of the struggle against the water. Various hydraulic works such as the 30km long IJsselmeer Dam (Enclosing Dike), the Eastern Scheldt storm-surge barrier of the Deltaworks and the Maeslant Kering ( Storm surge barrier of Hook of Holland ) are part of our programme.

Storm Surge Barrier as long as Eifeltower

  Storm Surge Barrier
This Maeslant Kering has enormous dimensions.

 

Building with nature : the Sand Enging


Aerial view of Sand Engine © www.beeldbank.rws.nl, Rijkswaterstaat

Aerial view of Sand Engine
© www.beeldbank.rws.nl, Rijkswaterstaat

 

The Sand engine is a large amount of sand that has been deposited in front of the western coast  of the province of Zuid Holland. Wind, waves and sea current will spread the sand around. This concept which is called building with nature  will contribute to the coastal safety in the long term and create more space for nature and recreation in this densely populated part of Holland.
 

Deep in their  hearts the Dutch  know that  the sea will never be tamed. The changing climate poses new challenges for them . And the Dutch wouldn’t be the Dutch if they didn’t go in search of new, innovative solutions for the impending rising sea level. The Sand Engine could be such a solution. An innovative way of large-scale sand suppletion whereby the Dutch engineers  use the power of the wind and waves to create new land. Building with nature: The Dutch  let the sea do the hard work. In this way they combine two objectives.  creating  more space for nature and recreation and making the coastline  more solid and safer.

A visit to the Storm surge barrier of Hook of Holland can be combined with a visit to the site of the Sand Engine on the North Sea coast

Steam pumping-stations

The largest Steam Pumping Station in the world, the Ir. D.F. Woudagemaal, also on the Unesco World Heritage list, and a number of other steam pumping- stations at various locations can also be visited.

International historic landmark

Museum de CruqiuisThe American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) designated the Cruquius steam pumping station the 33rd International Historic Landmark in 1991.

 

 

© Museum De Cruquius

Traces of past breaches in dikes

A tour along a winding dikeroad is of course one of the possibilities as well as a boattrip on the many Dutch waters.

Cornfields on seabed

The reclamation of the Zuyderzee where seabed was turned into fertile arable land shows that the Dutch not only took a defensive attitude towards the threatening water but also an offensive approach.

Floating cellar

In contrast with the many large scale hydraulic works there is the small scale floating cellar where a citizen long ago in an ingenious way fought against rising groundwater.

Water works : small-scale water management in the Netherland

One of the activities the crown prince of the Netherlands, His Royal Highness Prince Willem Alexander, occupies himself with is water management. In 2002 he played an important role at the World Water Platform in Johannesburg by giving the opening speech at the Water Dome and presenting his policy paper "No Water, No Future".

There is a water shortage in many countries. The Netherlands, however, often has a surplus of water, especially river water. With global warming progressing an increase in precipitation and consequently a rise in stream flow in rivers in Europe is expected. One of the scenarios shows a rise of the sea level of 25 cm per century and a normative river flow of the Rhine at Lobith (the Netherlands) of 16,800 m per second (currently 16,000m per second). Such a scenario will necessitate measures aimed at dealing with a surplus of water and the protection of the population, also on an international scale.

To this end the Dutch government launched the "Room for the River" project. However, much can be done about water management locally, in close collaboration with the population. Let the water do its work.

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© illustration: Lex Tempelman

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