File this one under ‘no one is a prophet in their own country’. Dutch inventor and painter Johann van den Noort never got any credit for his work in the Netherlands (was nominated once back in 1996), but this month his custom-made water defences are going to be built to protect nothing less than the National Archives of the United States in Washington DC.
Two water defences, both 2,5 metres high and 8 metres wide, will be installed at the entrance of the archive building. Van den Noort refers to his invention as a ‘floating dike’ or ‘self-flooding water dam’: once the water level rises, the pit with the floating defence, made from polyester and kevlar, fills up. Then, the water pressure pushes the defence above ground, which turns into an impenetrable wall.
Although Van den Noort’s hometown of Kampen, Overijssel saw no use for his invention when it came time to reinforce their own water defences, he did received the award of ‘Best Civil Technical Invention in the world’ at an international invention trade show in Geneva back in 1996, among others.