Reinforcement of the Houtribdijk

Reinforcement of the Houtribdijk

The Houtribdijk no longer meets the safety norm laid down in the Water Act. In response, Rijkswaterstaat is reinforcing this levee between Lelystad and Enkhuizen with sand and stone. After the reinforcement, the levee is able to withstand a severe storm that, on average, occurs once every 10,000 years.

Vitally important

The Houtribdijk serves as a massive breakwater between the IJsselmeer and the Markermeer during storms. This makes the Houtribdijk vitally important for flood risk management in all provinces in the IJsselmeer region. A part of the Houtribdijk is reinforced with quarry stones. Another part of the levee is reinforced using wide, sandy banks. We also develop Trintelzand, a new nature reserve.

Worldwide first

Sandy reinforcement of a levee in such a huge non-tidal inland water is a worldwide first. Together with Delft University of Technology and other researchers we developed a long term monitoring programme. This way we can develop and share our knowledge on this form of Building with Nature.


Completed: middle of 2020
2017Work starts
December 2017Bicycle path closed
July/August 2018Bicycle path temporarily open
July 2019Bicycle path permanently open
Middle of 2020Levee reinforcement completed

Houtribdijk reinforcement: Building with Nature (March 2019)

The Houtribdijk was built in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Originally, it’s purpose was to create new land in the Markermeer. Now it links the province of North Holland to Flevoland. We are reinforcing the Houtribdijk with large loads of sand. This natural building material comes from nearby the levee. Hydraulic filling deposits 10 million cubic metres of sand. This sand is shaped into wide, sloping banks. These slopes will absorb the force of the waves. The transition between water and sand will also benefit natural diversity. This type of reinforcement in a freshwater environment is a world first. Scientists are monitoring how sand and waves affect each other. This increases our knowledge of innovative, nature-based reinforcement. Ensuring smart protection of the Netherlands, by building with respect for nature.