CASE STUDY : Van Abbe Museum



PERIOD : 2016


Its location at the banks of the river Dommel means that during a flood, the Van Abbe Museum may suffer water damage in case of high water. The library and art collection may suffer, but the climate control system may break down too. In such a case, the museum would have to close for at least six months. Furthermore, water damage to the artworks could be irreparable.

In 2012, there was a terrible cloudburst that posed a threat to the museum In ninety minutes, the water rose to a height of one and a half meter. As a precaution, sand bags were put in place and all objects were removed from the halls on the lower levels.


The solution was custom-made, at the request of Waterschap De Dommel and in close collaboration with the Van Abbe Museum and the city of Eindhoven, who is the proprietor of the building. As of 1 April 2016, a Self-Closing Flood Barrier (SCFB) of 33 meters long, 80 centimeters high and 20 centimeters thick will protect the museum against flooding in case of heavy rainfall. The challenge for this project was that the barrier had to be installed in a pond. As such, the barrier disappears completely under the water when it is not raised.
‘The barrier will be raised 3 times a year on average’, claims Peter Glas of Waterschap De Dommel.
The wall bears an inscription ‘I protect the museum and the artworks against the water’. These measures are part of a larger plan to protect Eindhoven against high water.

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