Once every year a symposium will be organised by Het Waterbouwdispuut. During a symposium current problems in the hydraulic engineering world will be discussed by representatives of the business world and research institutes. They will share their vision and experiences in regard to the theme.

Students are free to ask questions during the symposium, where in most cases the questions will lead into a interesting discussion between the students and the representatives of the business world and research institutes.

Symposium 2017:

Inland Flood Protection in the Netherlands

Facing challenges of tomorrow

On Thursday, the 8th of June, the Hydraulic Engineering student association “Het Waterbouwdispuut” will host the annual symposium. This year we will focus on the inland flood protection in our country. We will look back, but more importantly, we will focus on the decades ahead of us and the challenges that these will offer. For example, very recently a new standard has been introduced for testing the safety of our flood protection system in the Netherlands. What are the consequences of such measures and how can a future engineer deal with the design restrictions in an ever changing society.

The Hydraulic Engineering symposium will take place on Thursday the 8th of June at the Sports & Culture Centre TU Delft. The programme starts at 12:30 and consists of outstanding keynote speeches and pitches from different disciplines, companies and universities sharing their view and experience on the covered topic of inland flood protection and the key challenges we are facing in the future. The day will include lunch, a short coffee break and the event will end with informal drinks.

This symposium is a unique opportunity to discuss all the relevant subjects, linked to this theme and moreover, it provides an excellent networking opportunity, therefore we hope to welcome you in large numbers.

Register for the symposium at:

Vibeke van der Bilt
Piebe Koster
Bas van Wierst
Sander de Jong
Ileen de Kat




Symposium 2016:

The symposium committee is pleased to announce that the first speakers and the chairman for the 2016 symposium have been confirmed. Amongst others, Jane Madgwick, Jan van Overeem, Hans van Duivendijk, Dano Roelvink and Cynthia Boll will share their thoughts, knowledge and experience on the symposium’s topic:

  “Hydraulic Engineering in Developing Countries:”
“Empowering local communities by education and participation”.

We are very proud that the day will be hosted by our chairman of the day: Henk Nieboer, Director of Witteveen+Bos and the Ecoshape foundation. He will link the different subjects of the day and host a discussion with multiple prominents from diverse origins in the hydraulic engineering field.

The first speaker we have the pleasure of announcing is Jane Madgwick. Mrs. Madgwick currently is the Chief Executive Officer of Wetlands International and has served several boards of the WWF in Australia. She therefore has a clear vision of the strategy into environmental management and of the importance of wetlands that she is willing to share during this day.

Secondly we present Jan van Overeem. Besides his work as an Associate Professor Coastal Engineering at the TU Delft, Mr van Overeem is a well known Engineering Consultant at Arcadis in the position of ‘Director Business Development Water’. Mr. van Overeem will share his experiences of a project about the new coastal master plan for Colombia in which he is currently involved.

Our third speaker is Hans van Duivendijk. He has worked at Royal HaskoningDHV for almost 40 years and will share his experiences as a consulting engineer in tidal closure works adapted to the circumstances prevailing in developing countries, by the use of “Appropriate Technology”.

Fourthly, we gladly present to you: Dano Roelvink. Mr. Roelvink is active as a senior specialist at Deltares and is Professor Coastal Engineering at primarily Unesco-IHE but also at the TU Delft. With over thirty years of experience at Deltares and over ten years of teaching experience at Unesco-IHE, he will share his view on the importance of “Education & Participation”  during the discussion panel at the opening of the symposium.

Next, we would like to announce that the second participant of the discussion group is: William van Niekerk. Mr. van Niekerk has very extensive business experience in civil engineering and is currently in the executive board of Tauw. Besides this job he is appointed as board member of SNV (, a non profit organisation which equips local communities, businesses and organisations with the tools, knowledge and connections they need to increase their income and gain access to basic services. Lastly he has been at the position of “Director corporate social responsibility” at BAM for which he may be able to give some insight in “the social responsibility” of engineering companies, governments, NGOs etc.

Sixt, and last for now, we want to present Cynthia Boll. As professional Photographer and visual storyteller she is the founder of the ‘Utarakan Jakarta, The people behind the Seawall’ project:  “The project portrays the lives of 4 people living in North Jakarta behind the seawall. It captures their struggles with floods, a sinking house and the costs of drinking water in a city on the verge of drowning; their worries, dreams and hopes for a better future”. Mrs. Boll will join the discussion group as for her close relationships with the citizens of flood prone areas.

The symposium starts at 12:30 with lunch in the Culture Centre of the TU Delft (Mekelweg 8-10). After lunch the educational program commences with a discussion between different people from the hydraulic engineering field, an interesting start-up and the guests in the room, led by the chairman Henk Nieboer. Later in the afternoon, the speakers will give their presentations, where there will be plenty of room for discussion and questions. The symposium ends at around 17.30. By then it is time for a well-deserved drink!

This week, we will introduce to you our guests one by one via facebook, so make sure you tune in at The Waterbouwdispuut Facebook page (facebook search: Het waterbouwdispuut)
Registration for the symposium can be done by clicking on the registration link below, or get the most up-to-date information on our website.
Don’t wait too long, as we can only accommodate a limited number of participants!

Registration via:

We hope to see you all on the 19th of May,

The Symposium Committee 2016

Floortje Roelvink
Servaas Kievits
Jenny Pronker
Raoul Tutein Nolthenius

symposium 19 mei




Symposium: ‘Multifunctional flood defense urban deltas’ (2015)

On Tuesday the 19th of May 2015, the annual symposium will take place at the faculty of CiTG (TU Delft). This year’s topic will cover the aspects of multifunctional flood defence project for urban regions. Think of international projects such as Jakarta (Great Garuda), Ho Chi Minh City flood defence plan and New York’s “Big U”.

The event will start during lunch, at 12:30 in PSOR. Speakers from different disciplines, companies and universities will share their view and experience on the covered topics. At the end of the symposium, there will be room for discussions and off course drinks.

Click here to subscribe for the symposium

The symposium committee,

Sjoerd Leenders
Maartje Godfroy
Coen Disberg
Lennart van der Sande

Symposium flyer


Tidal-energySymposium: ‘Blue current’ (2014)

On the 19th of May the annual symposium was organized, “Blue current – putting tidal energy in perspective”. Tidal energy isn’t a new form of renewable energy, but it is getting more discussed and criticized every day. Tidal energy plants however, still very scarce, could be a possible solution for some countries, but implementing renewable energy sources always has pros and cons. For example, you could ask yourself whether placing large amounts of solar energy in cloudy Holland will be a good idea. Therefore we must cast a critical eye on these matters and the different perspectives from tidal energy were discussed at the symposium.

During lunch, we opened the doors of PSOR to all our speakers and interested participants to start the day and enjoy the sun. A symposium about solar energy would be more relevant on this day.

After lunch our chairman Bas Jonkman opened the symposium with an introduction of the subject, in which he asked all participants to answer some questions, related to the presentations of the different speakers. This way everyone was immediately involved in the subject and also those who didn’t know a lot about the subject beforehand were triggered to have a critical view on the presentations.

Han Vrijling, the first speaker, made us aware of the amounts of energy we need in our daily life and what effort is necessary to achieve this. For some it might have come as a surprise, while for others it would be clear already, but this way we all started with the same knowledge of energy in general. He also introduced different types of energy sources and although he had a sceptical view on tidal energy, it was an interesting starting point for the other presentations on tidal energy, where the following speakers had the opportunity to convince us about the positive outcomes of tidal energy.

Kees Hulsbergen, founder of Dynamic Tidal Power (DTP), was the second speaker. He explained us the development of DTP so far, how to use the tide and used Korea as an example. The animations which were shown on the effect of using two barrages perpendicular to the coast instead of only one was very clarifying and interesting to see.

After the first coffee break, we continued with Roger Falconer, who came all the way from the United Kingdom to Delft. His presentation on the Severn Barrage was very clear and extensive. The fact that the barrage has still not been build for over 100 years made us very curious, but Roger Falconer managed this topic very well and gave us an explanation on the different difficulties of the project with the possibilities to handle those. It became clear that although there are some feasible plans to construct the barrage, there are several parties, which stop the building at the moment. Roger Falconer informed us that if he could make the decisions, the barrage would be there around 2020.

Two more perspectives were discussed after the last break. First the multi-functionality of tidal barrages was extended and then the financial side of renewable energy was revealed.

Jacob van Berkel, working for Pro-Tide NL, is involved in the planned tidal energy plant at the Brouwersdam. In the Brouwersdam-project, the ecology is of high importance, besides the technical part of the barrage. Jacob van Berkel also showed us the future of all fish in the Grevelingen, which stirred emotions for some. This was a good example of a national project, concerning the multi-functionality of tidal energy projects.

Ruut Schalij followed him with a lecture on the economical situation around renewable energy sources. For most civil engineers this part of projects is more unknown than others and therefore Ruut Schalij’s overview of this will be of additional value for us. The main question was why energy companies won’t invest in tidal energy. Summarized in a table with all different energy sources, it was clear that the tidal energy proponents need to extend their knowledge and convince the public about the efficiency of tidal energy. Ruut Schalij mentioned the fact that tidal energy now, in 2014, might be on the same level of development as wind energy was 15 years ago, so there might be a future of tidal energy in the world.

Having heard all these interesting stories from speakers with different backgrounds, different goals regarding tidal energy and a lot of energy to convince us, we asked the participants the same questions and statements as in the introduction to see whether they changed their minds. And surprisingly, they did! We all agreed on the fact that tidal energy will be relevant for us in the future around the world, but not especially in the Netherlands. Besides this it is still questionable whether our government has to invest in tidal energy or not.

The symposium was an interesting and informative day, where tidal energy was really put into perspective. We had a wonderful day and hopefully our participants did as well. Thanks again to all our speakers, our chairman and the participants!

Ewoud Volbeda, Sebastiaan Klaver, Silvia Pubben and Floortje Hofland


Symposium: ‘De Zandmotor’ (2012)

On the 25th of April was the annual symposium of Het Waterbouwdispuut. This year’s theme was “De Zandmotor”. For those who aren’t familiar with the Sand Motor, hereby a summary about what it is: The Sand Motor, also known as Sand Engine, is an innovative method for coastal protection. The Sand Motor is a huge volume of sand that has been applied along the coast of Zuid-Holland at Ter Heijde in 2011. Wind, waves and currents will spread the sand naturally along the coast of Zuid-Holland. This is called Building with Nature, also a booming topic nowadays. The Sand Motor wil gradually change in shape and will eventually befully incorporated into the dunes and the beach. The coast will be broader and safer.

The day started with a nice lunch. Here, the visitors of the symposium could casually talk to each other and mix with the speakers. After the lunch the chairman, Stefan Aarninkhof, opened the symposium for the day. He introduced the Sand Motor and started with a sketch of the importance of a project like the Sand Motor for Hydraulic Engineering in the Netherlands and abroad.

The first speaker was Douwe Sikkema of Province of Zuid-Holland. He gave a presentation about the initiative phase of the project. Unfortunately, Jasper Fiselier, the second speaker, wasn€™t able to make it to the symposium because of personal reasons. He would have spoken about the design phase en everything around that. Stefan Aarninkhof filled his place with a view sheets about this topic. Wilbert van Boldrik (Van Oord) gave a presentation about the implementation of the Sand Motor. He showed us how the dredging was done in practice, and shared some insight information about the life as a dredger, especially in this project.

After the coffee break, Evelien van Eijsbergen (Rijkswaterstaat) continued with a story about the monitoring of the Sand Motor. She told us about the aspects which need to be monitored, and emphasized the importance of these results for the future. The next speaker was Jan van Dalfsen. He is a marine ecologist specialized in benthic studies, so his presentation was from a whole other point of view. The ecological changes as a result of sand extraction and nourishments should be taken into account en need to be decreased or compensated. After this, Marius Schwartz took the floor, and put the Sand Motor in a larger perspective. As a member of the Deltaprogramme team Coast, he briefed the audience about the whereabouts of the Deltaprogramme and its section Coast. Stefan Aarninkhof ended the symposium with the final presentation about the Sand Motor. After this the symposium came to an ending. We went to cafe PSOR for some drinks and snacks. The drinks afterwards were combined with a business market. Several companies and the TU Delft were represented with possibilities for traineeships, graduation projects, a CV check et cetera. Later on in this Swell, you can read more about the business market.

Over all, the symposium was a big success! There were a lot of students, other visitors, interesting speakers and of course the drinks in PSOR. Afterwards we went out for dinner with Het Waterbouwdispuut and the Symposium Committee. We all very much enjoyed the whole day and hope everyone who attended with us.