Our country is a country of resilience. For centuries we have faced increasingly higher levels of water. And with each challenge we come out on top. By constantly looking ahead, we're the safest delta in the world. Thirty years ago, Rijkswaterstaat built the Oosterschelde storm surge barrier. Our country's largest Delta Works: no less than nine kilometres long. We did this for our own safety, and for that of future generations. An enormous task that took us about ten years to complete. Step by step, a solid foundation emerged beneath our feet. We showed real backbone, and our years of hard work produced an impressive result. It may seem perfectly normal... the Oosterschelde storm surge barrier protecting hundreds of thousands of people against high water. But that it's possible with just a push of a button is simply amazing. To keep it this way, after 30 years of faithful operation the Oosterschelde storm surge barrier is undergoing a major renovation. We will wrap the gates and give them a new protective layer. Together with expert partners we work on the safety, accessibility and quality of life in the Netherlands. Together, we build the Netherlands.
Eastern Scheldt Barrier
The Eastern Scheldt Barrier is the largest and best known of the Delta Works. The 9 km long structure seals off the Oosterschelde if there is a threat of flooding.
9 km in length of which 3 km can be closed
The Eastern Scheldt Barrier connects the islands of Schouwen-Duiveland and Noord-Beveland in Zeeland and was built between 1976 and 1986. It is the largest storm surge barrier in the Netherlands.
Construction of the Eastern Scheldt Barrier
The Eastern Scheldt Barrier is a unique project. At the time, it was the largest ever structure to be built in terms of its scale and dimensions. And it is still unequaled. The barrier is regarded worldwide as a landmark in hydraulic engineering.
Facts and figures Eastern Scheldt Barrier
The Eastern Scheldt Barrier:
- is closed once a year on average;
- is designed to withstand a flood that is statistically unlikely to occur more than once in 4,000 years;
- has 65 colossal pillars, separated by sluice gates that are roughly 42 m wide and 6 to 12 m high, each weighing between 260 and 480 tonnes.
Special team for operation
Rijkswaterstaat has a special team to operate the barrier. The team is assisted with crucial information from the Hydro Meteo Centre, based on its predictions and measurements.
The Eastern Scheldt Barrier is closed if the water is expected to rise to 3 m above NAP
Closing the barrier
We close the Eastern Scheldt Barrier if the water level is predicted to rise to more than 3 m above Normal Amsterdam Level (NAP). It is closed from the ir. J.W. Topshuis on the artificial island of Neeltje Jans. At the press of a button, all 62 sluice gates are lowered and it takes 82 minutes for them all to close. If for some reason the barrier does not close, there is an automatic emergency closing system. To date, this system is never used.
Video: the largest of the Dutch Delta Works
By constantly looking ahead, the Netherlands is the safest delta in the world today. Thirty years ago, Rijkswaterstaat built the Eastern Scheldt Barrier. It is the largest of our country's Delta Works: no less than 9 km long. Protecting hundreds of thousands of people against high water. To keep it this way, the Eastern Scheldt Barrier is undergoing a major renovation. Together with expert partners we work on the safety, accessibility and quality of life in the Netherlands.
Plan your visit to the Eastern Scheldt Barrier
Want to see the Eastern Scheldt Barrier with your own eyes? Then pay a visit to Deltapark Neeltje Jans. Among other activities here, you can get a guided tour of the storm-surge barrier and learn more about the Delta Works.
It is also interesting to pay a visit to the Watersnoodmuseum at Ouwerkerk, the museum dedicated to the North Sea flood of 1953. Learn more about those events, the Delta Works, dyke reinforcement and repair work.