The Afsluitdijk: icon and international showpiece of Dutch hydraulic engineering

In the years ahead, the Afsluitdijk (Closure Dyke) will be metamorphosed. The dyke needs to be strengthened, in order to continue to protect our country from flooding. New floodgates and pumps will be constructed to be able to discharge more water. The Afsluitdijk will thus constitute the largest pumping station in Europe. In addition, artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde has been requested to make a design that contributes to the value of the dyke as an icon and international showpiece of Dutch hydraulic engineering, innovation and Dutch Design.

Sustainable energy

This is what Minister Schultz van Haegen of Infrastructure and the Environment announced today. “After more than 80 years, the Afsluitdijk is due for a thorough make-over. The dyke can set an example as a smart dyke that not only protects from flooding but also allows for the production of energy, boosts the regional economy, recreation and tourism, and provides an impetus to nature. This will enhance our international profile.” The Ministry has set aside well over 800 million euros for this project. The national government and the regional authorities are joining forces, jointly investing in projects pertaining to sustainable energy, nature, the regional economy, recreation, and tourism.

High water

For more than 80 years, the Afsluitdijk has been protecting a large part of the Netherlands against flooding from the sea. The last assessment showed that the dyke failed to meet water safety standards. Consequently, Rijkswaterstaat (the executive arm of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment) is going to reinforce the dyke over its entire length of 32 kilometres. The sluices will also be tackled. New floodgates will be constructed at Den Oever and Kornwerderzand and large pumps will be placed in the drainage sluice at Den Oever. With the existing sluices, surplus water from the IJsselmeer can only be discharged into the Wadden Sea at low water levels. The new pumps will enable excess water from the IJsselmeer to be discharged at high water as well. At a pumping capacity of 10 Olympic swimming pools a minute, the pumps will constitute the largest pumping station in Europe.

Renovation

The Afsluitdijk is not just a protective barrier against sea water. The dyke borders on the nature reserves of the IJsselmeer and the Wadden Sea, it has cultural-historical value, it draws tourists and it is an icon of Dutch hydraulic engineering. These values have been taken into account in the renovation plans. The Image Quality of the Afsluitdijk Masterplan sets out how these values will be reinforced. In order to enhance people’s experience of the dyke, artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde has been requested to come up with a design. This design will contribute to the value of the dyke as an icon and international showpiece.

More information

More information on the projects and the collaboration between the national government and the regional authorities is available on http://theafsluitdijk.com/