Iconic Afsluitdijk

The Iconic Afsluitdijk project was a design innovation programme, commissioned by the Dutch Government.

Designer Daan Roosegaarde was asked to contribute to enhancing the innovative character of the legendary 32 km Dutch dyke, whilst highlighting its key functions: water protection and heritage and energy. But also mobility as an exemplary model of a smart landscape for today and tomorrow.

Gates of Light

The new futuristic entrance of the Afsluitdijk is called Gates of Light, which brings the 60 monumental floodgates of 1932 back to their glory. Every day 20.000 cars pass by. The structures which were originally designed by Dirk Roosenburg, the grandfather of Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, have been fully restored and augmented with a retroreflective layer. In the dark, the architecture of these structures is illuminated by the headlights of passing cars, reflecting the light through small prisms. If there are no cars on the road, the structures are not illuminated. This way of using light requires zero energy and does not contribute to light pollution.

Watch the trailer Iconic Afsluitdijk

About the Afsluitdijk

The Afsluitdijk is a 32 km long dyke which protects the Netherlands against water and flooding. Built mostly by hand and realized in 1932, it is an engineering highlight of the Netherlands and a unique place in the world. After more than 85 years, the Afsluitdijk is now in need of a thorough renovation. The Dutch state have joined forces with the surrounding municipalities and provinces to lead an ambitious programme to protect the future of the dyke. As part of the programme, Roosegaarde's Iconic Afsluitdijk enhances the iconic status of the Afsluitdijk with a layer of light and interaction.