Award for landscape integration

The works on the Princess Beatrix complex are not just another civil engineering contract. Sas van Vreeswijk paid much attention to integrating the project into the environment, with due respect for the heritage and architecture of the surrounding area. From a distance, you won’t even see the new lock. “This is the major difference with locks in an industrial setting”, says Jens. “The new lock chamber has been designed like a cut in the landscape to preserve a clear view of the monumental lifting towers of the old lock chambers. Also the characteristic white lifting towers and white lock keeper’s dwellings, in which the new control room has been integrated, were restored to their original state." A further bonus comes from the solar panels that allow the lock complex to operate in an energy-efficient way.

This project shows that the Netherlands appreciate our expertise in lock and waterway construction works.

It was on no account an easy task to preserve the original appearance of the project area. To accommodate the widening works, the consortium had to move some of the structures of the New Dutch Water Line. Three casemates or bunkers each with a weight up to 1,600 tonnes were moved further inland and the same was required of a small lock, a culvert and a group of piles. “This was a very complex operation but with a successful result. All elements were re-installed outside the dike, along a public access route for cyclists and tourists.”
Apart from the panorama and historical heritage, Sas van Vreeswijk also consider the local wildlife. Close to the lock complex, we created crossing zones for bats. The lighting at the Princess Beatrix locks would cause them huge disturbance during their nocturnal outings. “We installed bat-friendly lighting that doesn’t confuse the little animals but still offers sufficient light to the users and operators of the lock. We also installed bat cabinets as temporary habitats and preserved rows of adjacent trees, which act as a means of orientation.”
The efforts to integrate the whole project into its local environment have definitely succeeded. The Dutch Waterways and Public Works Agency (RWS) awarded Sas van Vreeswijk with the prize for landscape integration to acknowledge the respect that we showed for history and the environment.


More than a technical solution!

The experience that Jan De Nul has gained as a member of Sas van Vreeswijk will be very useful for executing more projects in the Netherlands within the near future. “Which we are doing already”, confirms Jens. “We’re working, among others, on a tender for extending the A15 near Arnhem, which is also a major DBFM contract. Here we will offer more than a mere technical solution to the problem. We go for solid added value.”

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