To give students the opportunity to see everything what they learn during lectures in practice, Het Waterbouwdispuut organizes several excursions to hydraulic engineering projects in The Netherlands. During these excursions the contracting company takes the students to the building site and teaches them everything about the project. Besides, as a positive result of these excursions students will be informed about running projects in the Netherlands.

Excursion Lievense

With a promising blue sky early in the morning, the students who participated in the excursion were one by one climbing the stairs towards the train station. Some of them were still rubbing the sand out of their eyes while the train of 7.25 am to Vlissingen arrived. Our excursion was to begin in Middelburg at the “Waterschap Zeeuwse Eilanden” organized by Lievense, an engineering firm situated in Breda.

So a 2 hour train trip awaited, but before we were well on our way, disaster stroke when we got a notice through the intercom: “no trains will travel past Dordrecht Station due to a defect train on the tracks”. We all left the train and joked about going back to bed. However, after some coffee our brains started working and we were able to outsmart the rest by taking a taxi to the nearest station. Although we almost got killed by a reckless taxi driver our plan worked out great. We arrived in Middelburg, only an hour later than planned. The excursion could begin!

We were warmly received by the people working for Lievense with a coffee, Zeeuwse Bolus (cake) and a nice sweater.  They also came a long way to Zeeland to show us one of their projects they had been working on for the past few years. The project we were about to visit was called “project Zeeweringen”. In this project about 325 km of the dikes in Zeeland will get a new or reinforced stone cladding. Through the years it has been shown that the stability of the current dikes couldn’t protect us against a super storm. This was mainly because of the cladding, mostly haringmanblokken and basalt, was placed directly onto clay. This caused erosion and a loss of the stability of the dike. This couldn’t be seen from the outside as the cladding stayed on the same place since the blocks held each other stable.

The testing of stability of dikes started in 1996 and since problems already occurred at that time, now every five to eight years these tests will be performed. Project Zeeweringen started in 1997, almost 20 years later and after an investment of 750 million euro it will probably be finished next year. This large time span is due the fact that the proceedings can only take place outside the storm season, which lasts from the first of April to the first of November.
Lievense, since 2006 working on the project, is responsible for the design and technical computations of different tracings of dike, so that every dike in Zeeland can withstand a 1/4000 years storm.

After all the explanations on safety and technique used for the design, we travelled to the project location “Burghsluis” to see the work in progress with our own eyes. After putting on hard hats and vests we walked along the 3km long dike. The work on the dike is phased. We could see every stage of the dike improvement since only a small stroke of the dike can be broken open for safety incase of a sudden storm. At the bottom they create a “kreukelberm” working towards the top finishing up with concrete pillars.

After the walk in the burning sun we all deserved some refreshments. It was time for some “Witbier” and snacks on a nice terrace next to a little harbor. After enjoying the fresh sea winds and shining sun for an hour or two it was time to travel back home with a sunburned red nose and a great experience richer.

Excursion Heijmans

On Wednesday, 4th of December 2013, 20 students went to an excursion powered by Heijmans. It started with 2 presentations in the office. One was about Heijmans as a company and the other one about the A4 Delft Schiedam project (A4ALL). After the presentations we drove with 2 busses on the construction side. We made several stops so we had a better view and could take a look at some bottlenecks. In short it was an interesting and very big project to see.

Excursion Van Oord

What a surprise, when we opened our Waterbouw-inbox and found an invitation of Joyce Moens,  Recruitment Advisor at Van Oord, to visit the new self-propelled cutter suction dredger the Artemis. One of the biggest in her class and a sister vessel of the already in use Althena  which was finished at the end of 2011.

On the 12th of April we, a group of 8 students and Ir. Van der Schrieck, took off to the Rotterdam Cruise Terminal, where the Artemis was moored. After a  cup of coffee Joyce took us to the Artemis. A quite impressive ship as you can see in the picture. Here we got a tour by the 1st Cutter Skipper of the Artemis, Reinier. He showed us almost all of the 131.5m long ship. In first we saw the big side winches (which can deliver a force of 150 ton) and the huge cutterhead.

After we saw the main deck of the vessel we went in to see the accommodations for the crew, which may consist of 50 people. We visited the 1 person rooms and a few 2 person rooms. Very good to see was that there also was a gym and, maybe even more important, a bar for the moments after work.

Furthermore we saw the bridge where ‘the magic’ happens! It was nice to see how in such a modern vessel everything is organized, with a real cockpit for the Cutter Skipper. After the bridge we went to the engine room where all the power is generated and the control room. It was interesting to see that the head office is in direct link with the vessel. So that the people at the head office can always stay in touch with the things that happen on board of the Artemis.

We would like to thank Van Oord for this great and new experience, to see how such a huge dredging vessel looks and works. Special thanks to Joyce Moens for organising this excursion and of course Skipper Reinier for the interesting tour!

Excursion Arcadis

This year Arcadis organized an excursion to the building site of Amsterdam Central Station. We were welcomed by Hans Jongbloed in the tower next to the station for a presentation about the building site, the planning and the technical complications that were endured.

The first plans for the rebuilding of the station started in de late 90. Consecutively the first licenses were given for the destruction of the front of the station and a building consortium got the chance to tender. This resulted in a complicated building plan in which the passengers should have no nuisance, the trains should have no delay and the builders are able to work 24/7.

At the moment the station has three building sites with three different contractors. Due to the fact that there is only one supply route the communication between the parties is critical. This has resulted in an independent traffic coordinator.

After the presentations we were guided through the building site. This led us past the traffic tunnel, the bus station, the new shopping/eating passages, the ‘Noord-Zuid Lijn’ and the excavation site beneath tracks 1 and 2. We were told many technical aspects, and interesting stories. The one about the queens waiting room is one to remember as rumor has it she only uses it when the station (and especially track 1 and 2) are under construction.

We would like to thank Arcadis for organizing this great event for us. And who knows in a few years time a new fieldtrip to the completed Amsterdam Central Station.

Interested in joining us on one of our next fieldtrips? Become a member and sign up.

Excursion Van Oord

Thursday the 1st of December Het Waterbouwdispuut went to Van Oord, a leading international contractor specialising in dredging, marine engineering and offshore projects (oil, gas and wind). They are one of the main parties who are working on the Maasvlakte 2 port expansion project at Rotterdam. A new top European location for port activities and industry is being created immediately to the west of the present port and industrial area. When the construction of Maasvlakte 2 began in 2008, the sea there was 17 metres deep. Maasvlakte 2 existed on no map, exce