CASE STUDY: Port of Spakenburg



PERIOD : 2016 – 2017


Spakenburg, a former fishing village located at the shores of lake Eem, needed to be protected against extreme storms. The Waterschap Vallei en Veluwe made a call for tenders in order to find a flood protection that would not interfere with the typical character of the historical harbour and slipway. The project asked for the solution to blend into the historical centre, taking up little space and with a maximum deployment time of three hours. Furthermore, the Spakenburg flood barrier had to be able to withstand water levels that occur during north-western storms at wind force 12. A permanent wall was not an ideal solution, as it would behave like a bath tub in case of heavy rainfall. As such, the wall would be part of the problem, instead of the solution.

In Spakenburg, the Self-Closing Flood Barrier (SCFB) will be used for the first time at such a large scale, as a primary flood barrier. Various studies indeed demonstrated that the SCFB was eminently suitable for the intended purpose. Furthermore, it amply met the requirements for primary water barriers set by the Dutch authorities. With its total length of 360 metres and a height of 80 centimetres, this floating dam is the longest self-closing barrier in the world. A major challenge during this project was that the very long barrier must not interfere with the special character of the historical fishing village. This was solved by making the barrier around the historical harbour disappear into the pavement when deactivated. Near the new harbour, it disappears into the quay wall, in order to preserve Spakenburg’s historical character. An especially nice touch is that the Spakenburg anthem is engraved into the upper side of the flood barrier. These measures are part of the dyke improvement along the Zuidelijke Randmeren and Eem. The project is funded by the national High Water Protection Programme (HWBP).

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