Dutch Delta Works

Maesland barrier Rotterdam keeps the water outside

water barrier, floods, climate change, sustainable, infra, green city

The colossal barrier is almost as long as the Eiffel Tower

Virtual tour of the Maeslant Barrier in the New Waterway, near Rotterdam. Opened on May 10th 1997 by Queen Beatrix, the barrier consists of two large hollow steel doors. Under normal conditions the doors are open, concealed within docks on each side of the waterway. This allows unhindered access for shipping traffic into the port of Rotterdam.

When the water level rises to 3 meters above Amsterdam ordnance zero, the docks are flooded and the doors begin to float. They are driven into the waterway and then flooded, thus sinking and sealing off the 360 meters wide waterway.

Construction of the Maeslant Barrier

The construction of the barrier started in 1991. First the dry docks were constructed on both shores and a sill was constructed at the bottom of the Nieuwe Waterweg. Then the two 22-meter high and 210- meter long steel gates were built. After this, 237-meter long steel trusses were welded to the gates.

Standing upright, these arms would be as high as the Eiffel Tower, and each one weighs almost as much at 6,800 tonnes.

The main purpose of the arms is transmitting the immense forces, exerted on the gates while closed, to one single joint at the rear of each gate. During the closing or opening process, this ball shaped joint gives the gate the opportunity to move freely under the influences of water, wind and waves.

Ball-shaped joint

It acts like a ball and socket joint, such as in the human shoulder or hip. The joints were made in the Czech republic at Škoda Works. The ball-shaped joint is the largest in the world, with a diameter of 10 meters, and weighing 680 tonnes.

The construction of the barrier costed 450 million euro. The total Europoortkering-project had cost 660 million euros.


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