Water Engineering

Dutch Design
The Discovery channel recently aired an episode about the Rotterdam port on the show called Extreme Engineering (Build It Big is the title in the US, I believe). The program discussed the ways in which Dutch engineers were building new land to expand the port, which is one of the busiest in the world. By taking sand from the sea bed, they’re able to build new, stable land to add about three square miles to the port. They’re expanding the Netherlands without having to invade any other countries! Impressive!

The Dutch are experts at land/water management, not surprising considering many parts of the country are built below sea level. In fact, while we were out driving around last week, we noticed a few times that the water in the canals next to the road was actually higher than the road. It felt like I was back in New Orleans. The Dutch are such experts, that they helped build the Palm Islands in Dubai (hopefully they got paid first) and helped expand Singapore, and are world leaders in dredging and land expansion.

We got our own little close-up view of the behind-the-scenes workings of Dutch management of land and water a couple of weeks ago. As we were trying to find Prins Hendriklaan to make our way to the Rietveld-Schröder House, we soon came across a dead end. Prins Hendriklaan was under some construction. In fact, the road was missing for about a block.
Dutch Engineering
It may not look quite so impressive, other than just a big hole in the ground, until you realize that the road intersects a canal. If you look closely to the left of the following photo, just behind the red machine, runs the canal.
Water and Earth
The street doesn’t form a bridge over the canal. It completely blocks the canal at that point. The canal then starts up again to the right.

It’s interesting to see the physical structures that go into maintaining a balance between land and water. It’s even more interesting to know that there’s a long history and tradition behind these structures. If you get a chance to see the Science/Discovery Channel program, I recommend it. It’s truly impressive on multiple levels.

6 thoughts on “Water Engineering

  1. Everyone always asks me if I am afraid about living in Holland and global warming/raising sea levels. I always tell them no. The Dutch have been dealing with water for so long that they will probably have the whole country up on stilts before anyone can say “What wave?”

    • Heh. Well put! And I’m like you, I’m not worried about flooding here. After living in New Orleans when a normal rainy day — not a major storm — caused the university’s campus to flood slightly, I feel much safer here. Considering the amount of rain we have, I’ve never seen a hint of flooding here like I saw in New Orleans.

  2. Yes, we’re pretty at it, aren’t we?

    Next time at Fred’s I’ll shoot you a nice, extra long movie with some excellent water management going on!

  3. Didn’t know the Dutch helped build the Palm Islands in Dubai. Personally I admire the assortment of canals, and dams in the Netherlands.. Lovely water management skills. Thanks for sharing the link to the episode..it looks great!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s