Crucial water defense dam gets €800 million rebuild

Afsluitdijk project begins
Minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen kicks off the €800 million Afsluitdijk rebuild (photo: Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment). (Minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen kicks off the €800 million Afsluitdijk rebuild (photo: Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment))

The government on Tuesday launched an 800 million euro project to rebuild the Afsluitdijk, a dam that connects Noord Holland with Friesland. The Afsluitdijk is both a highway and a crucial structure protecting the Netherlands against floods, forming the barrier between the Wadden Sea and the IJsselmeer lake.

Workers will strengthen the dam with new floodgates and pumps to drain more water. Those will form the largest pumping station in Europe, with the pumping capacity of ten Olympic swimming pools per minute. Artist Daan Roosegaarde is also creating a design that should contribute to the value of the dike as an international calling card for the Netherlands. Roosegaarde's artificial water experience  is also on exhibit at Museumplein. His well-received 2014 project, a 's Starry Night, garnered attention worldwide The dike came into service eighty years ago. During the most recent inspection, it appeared not to meet the standards for flood protection. Because of that, Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (RWS) is planning to strengthen the structure all along its 32-kilometer length. The renovation will also concern the dike's currently outdated sluices.

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