Rijkere Dijken (‘Richer Dikes’) | research by DELVA Landscape Architects with Dingeman Deijs Architect


In the coming years, 99 dikes in the Netherlands have to be reinforced.  Besides their function to protect, these flood defences have an impact on the functioning of their surrounding area. That’s why we –as spatial designers-  asked ourselves if a dike can be more than just a monotone embankment. DELVA Landscape Architects and Dingeman Deijs Architect developed six new typologies for dikes in six different landscapes. We worked with experts in the field of engineering and technology.



Goal of the project is to provide strong alternatives to the traditional method of reinforcing dikes. Six new dike typologies were developed in six different landscapes. These ‘richer dikes’ do not only offer a sustainable solution for water safety, but also contribute to broader spatial, social, economical and ecological issues on and around the dike.


The main defenses have, besides their main function, also impact on the functioning of the immediate area. Flood defenses must therefore be monitored and assessed on their functional, as well as their spatial quality.

Energy dike (Kinderdijk)

Location: Kinderdijk is an historical location with nineteen historic polder mills which have been part of the Unesco World Heritage list since 1997. The Energy Dike is placed near this historical heritage site at the river Lek. The site is suitable because of the close proximity of two urban areas and the location at the outer bend of the river. The obtained energy supply can be used for households at both villages, Kinderdijk and Middelweg.

Dike reinforcement: The energy dike is based on the same principles as the current planned reinforcement. The dike will be extended with a hollow concrete cavity. A new sustainable energy source will obtain approximately 1.500.000 kWh every year. This is sufficient to supply approximately 400 households.

Result: The combination of a new energy source in the Dutch rivers with dike reinforcements is not the only benefit offered by the energy dike. The durability of the reinforcement will be vastly increased. Current dikes are being reinforced every fifty years, with the implementation of the energy dike the expected durability will rise to approximately one hundred years.
Hollow dike (Vlissingen)

Location: The island in Vlissingen is a relatively narrow strip of land between the Vlissingen harbour and the Westerschelde.

Dike reinformcement: the dikes around Vlissingen will need to reinforced, which will result in numerous complex challenges dealing with the nearby dwellings. We propose to intersect the two, by integrating the to be demolished dwellings into the new reinfoced dike.

Result: Contextual issues as the basis for a richer dike. Multifunctional use of space. The new form of housing is a standing house in the dike, with a particular spatial quality. Also, it achieves a more sustainable dike reinforcement by improving the term of reinforcement from 50 to 100 years.
Sailable dike (Uitdam)

Location: Uitdam is a village in the province of Noord-Holland, situated on the Markermeer. The village has a special location, surrounded by a water inside the dyke and the Markermeer on the outside.

Dike reinforcement: the current proposal for the reinforcement is opposed by the residents of Uitdam. The existing dike houses will lose quality because they no longer overlook the Markermeer. The task here is to integrate the new dike in the rural area while ensuring the living quality of the local residents.

Result: Context as a reason to opt for a richer dike. A new dike as new connection to Marken and as a necessary dike reinforcement. The new dike breaks the waves ensuring the quality of the current dike. The new dike is sailable in one place, making it possible for the marina of Uitdam to continue to function.

Rijkere Dijken (‘Richer Dikes’) | research by DELVA Landscape Architects with Dingeman Deijs Architect

Design: 2012-2013

Client:  Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie

In collaboration with: Dingeman Deijs Architect

About Damian Holmes 3314 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/

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