01 OSK Storm Surge Barrier

Oosterschelde storm surge barrier

The Oosterschelde storm surge barrier is the largest and best known of the Delta Works. The 9 kilometre 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 Oosterschelde storm surge barrier connecting the islands of Schouwen-Duiveland and Noord-Beveland in Zeeland was built between 1976 and 1986. It is the largest storm surge barrier in the Netherlands.

The Oosterschelde storm surge 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 metres wide and 6-12 metres high and each weighing between 260 and 480 tonnes

When is the barrier closed?

We close the Oosterschelde storm surge barrier if the water level is predicted to rise to more than three metres above Normal Amsterdam Level (NAP). It is closed from the ir. J.W. Topshuis on the 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, but it has never had to be used up to now.

The Oosterscheldekering: the largest Delta Works of The Netherlands

By constantly looking ahead, The Netherlands is the safest delta in the world today. Thirty years ago, Rijkswaterstaat built the Oosterscheldekering. Our country's largest Delta Works: no less than nine kilometres long. Protecting hundreds of thousands of people against high water. To keep it this way, the Oosterscheldekering is undergoing a major renovation. Together with expert partners we work on the safety, accessibility and quality of life in The Netherlands.

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 Oosterscheldekering. 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 Oosterscheldekering 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 Oosterscheldekering 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.

What does Rijkswaterstaat do?

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 Oosterschelde storm surge barrier is closed if the water is expected to rise to 3 metres above NAP

Construction

The Oosterschelde storm surge barrier (PDF, 2,74 MB) 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 unequalled. The barrier is regarded worldwide as a landmark in hydraulic engineering.

Nature

The original plans called for a closed dam where the Oosterschelde storm surge barrier now stands.