November 17, 2017

Afsluitdijk lights up thanks to multiple art projects

Filed under: Architecture,Design by Orangemaster @ 3:45 pm


For many of us who have driven the 32-kilometre-long Afsluitdijk from North Holland and Friesland (or the other way around), it’s a short cut with a great view of the water and sheep. However, historically, the Afsluitdijk is a key part of the country’s world-famous sea defences, as well as a major Dutch accomplishment.

Yesterday, Dutch artists unveiled a design and light show to highlight this feat of engineering, called ‘Icoon Afsluitdijk’ (‘Icon Afsluitdijk’), which shines at night “to enhance and safeguard the dyke’s rich heritage and anchor its position in the world as a Dutch water engineering and design icon,” according to its creators.

The project consists of a number of art installations, of which the last one is called ‘Gates of Light’, created by Daan Roosegaarde and his team. They applied a reflective layer to the Afsluitdijk’s 60 floodgates, which allows the concrete gates to brightly light up at night in the retro style of the 1930s, when the dyke was first built by hand.

The Dutch have lit other important landmarks up, such as the Kinderdijk, UNESCO World Heritage Site, with colours matching the Dutch flag.

(Links and images:,

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June 11, 2009

Dutch dike protects national archives in Washington

Filed under: Architecture,Design,General by Orangemaster @ 10:10 am

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.

(Links: idealize and Noort Innovations, Photo: Sanjay K. Bidasaria)

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