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Battle against the rising sea level

  • 20-year maintenance phase
  • 35.5 million cubic metres of sand needed
  • 640,000 square metres of marram grass planted
  • 9-kilometre-long project site

The Dutch coastline attracts many visitors and tourists. It’s a beautiful place to rest and enjoy the surroundings. The safety of people and the environment in this area is paramount. ‘The Hondsbossche and Pettemer Sea Defence no longer met current safety standards and was classified as one of the ten weak links along the Dutch coast in 2004,’ explains Jaap Wiersma, Area Manager Netherlands. According to our client, the Hollands Noorderkwartier Regional Water Board, reinforcing and maintaining this area to resist a superstorm is priority. The consortium, led by Van Oord, was responsible not only for building the coastal defences but also for maintaining them for the next twenty years.

Achieving the best result

Ingenuity is in our veins. It’s the drive to show that something is really possible. Our Marine ingenuity also had a great impact on achieving the best results for this project, not just with regard to citizen participation, but also regarding our CO2management. Van Oord Netherlands has gained level-5 certification – the highest level – on the CO2 Performance Ladder. This means that the consortium had the biggest possible advantage when tendering for this project. Winning this contract was the result of the best efforts of many ingenious people.

I was enthusiastic right from the moment I started work on the project, and my enthusiasm only grew as the project progressed. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, working on a project where you see new land being created so incredibly quickly. On top of that, we had an excellent cooperative relationship with the many parties who were involved with the coastline reinforcement.

Kees Stam, Hollands Noorderkwartier Regional Water Board

Clever optimisations

It’s all about using materials efficiently, introducing energy-saving measures and utilizing renewable sources of energy. Thanks to clever design optimisations, the amount of sand needed was significantly reduced; this meant fewer trips between the project location and the sand extraction site, resulting in lower fuel consumption and lower carbon emissions. In addition, better coordination between the trailing hopper suction dredgers during project execution meant shorter waiting times and, as a result, lower fuel consumption while waiting. These measures made it possible to deploy earthmoving equipment more efficiently. That’s Marine ingenuity!

In addition to protecting the coast, the reinforcement will increase the scope of nature conservation and leisure activities in the area. We are creating a nature reserve with a damp dune valley, and extending the leisure zones by adding 1.5 kilometres of beach. We’re also constructing a panorama dune in Petten’s leisure zone and a lagoon in the Camperduin sector. The new area will be lovely and impressive, and it will merge seamlessly into the existing dunes of the Noord-Holland coast.

Dirk Bakker, Project Manager
Dirk Bakker, Project Manager

Building with the nature

‘Every grain of sand will be recycled several times, a nice example of building with nature’, says Dirk Bakker, Project Manager. We learned a lot during the Sand Motor project, a successfully finished project. Normally, the sea carries away sand, but this project is a little bit different. Our calculations indicate that the sand won’t simply get washed away – it will be recycled. The current will take it north towards the coast near the town of Callantsoog, which will be reinforced as a result.’

Another activity that Van Oord carries out is preventing sand drift, which includes placing bales of hay on the dike slope, planting about 640,000 square metres of marram grass, and erecting kilometres of willow-slip sand-drift screens. ‘One important element of our sand-drift prevention programme is to add a preventive dose of paper pulp while creating the dunes. Paper pulp is a residual product of the paper processing industry and well known in the bulb-growing region for preventing drift,’ explains Niels Hutter, Environmental Manager.

Additional information
  • Start date
    December 2014
  • End date
    2015
  • Location
    Camperduin – Petten, the Netherlands
  • Business Unit
    Netherlands
  • Client
    Hollands Noorderkwartier Regional Water Board