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Civic Engineering exhibits/museums in the Netherlands


I'll be in the Netherlands for 2-3 days in the spring, and I am particularly interested in how the Dutch utilize unique solutions in civil engineering. Poldering, and also how they use the sand and chalk in the beds of their lakes and rivers with filtration systems for drinking water, etc. Are there any museums or locations that are particularly dedicated to these types of things?


Posted by
2828 posts

You can visit the Deltawerken museum in Zeeland province.

They have also satellite visitor centers at other locations such as the Maeslantkering storm surge barrier.

Closer to Amsterdam you have the older Cruqhuis, which houses a museum from steam-era water pumping

The Grachtenhuis museum in Amsterdam has a nice and short exhibition on the history of the city with plenty of insights into how it was built from an engineering perspective as well.

Posted by
240 posts

Great post! I will be taking my civil engineer husband and soon-to-be (graduating in June) civil engineer daughter to the Netherlands this June. We plan to see all of these.
Also, did you know that the Netherlands was the first to 3D print a steel bridge (foot bridge).

Please continue to post any other interesting engineering sites or facts!!

Posted by
1642 posts

Okay, here we go:

The only museum in the Netherlands I can find about water treatment is the Watermuseum in Arnhem. Never visited it, mainly it’s more for educating children, nevertheless think it’s worth contacting them for your questions:

About traditional hydraulic engineering there is in our country a lot to see for instance in the province of Zeeland as André already noticed. The Eastern Scheldt Storm Surge Barrier has a visitor centre where you can see why and how it is constructed, there are guided tours too. You need a car to get there.

Closer to Rotterdam the Maeslant Barrier is certainly worth a visit, there are guided tours in English (but at specific times). Interesting detail is that the concrete foundation of the barriers bal joint can move several centimeters giving enough flexibility to avoid overstress of the steel structure the time it’s closed during storm. You can get there with a car or public transport to Hoek van Holland and from there a taxi or rental bike.

The worlds larged inflatable dam is the Ramspol Barrier near the city of Kampen in the eastern part of the Netherlands. More north the Unesco listed “Woudagemaal” steam pumping station which still backs up if necessary.

During war times the strategy of inundation was an effective way to keep the enemy away. The Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie east of Amsterdam is our nations most well-known defensive work based on this strategy.

The largest sea lock is now under construction in IJmuiden, SHIP is the visitor centre there, halas their website is in Dutch only. For guided tours contact:

For a whole lot more about hydraulic engineering the Delft Univerity of Technology is the place to go.

And last but not least Rijkswaterstaat, our Ministery of Infrastructure and Water Management takes care of most of the hydraulic works.

Posted by
240 posts

Wil, what a great list. Thanks so much. My husband has many happy hours of researching and planning our visit now!

Posted by
1642 posts

You’re welcome! Till 10 years ago I worked as a technical draughtsman and was involved in many steel construction projects and worked several years for a company specialized in building bridges, the reason civil engineering has my interest too.