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De Adaptieve Dijk

Michel Schreinemachers, Jurriaan Hillerström, Wiebe Strick, Celine Janssen with Pieter Schengenga, Inge Kersten, Irma Gross, (H+N+S landschapsarchitecten), Marinus Kooijman (M.A. Kooijman Cultuurhistorische projecten), Martin Egas (Dura Vermeer / Ploegam)
Strategies for dike transition in the coming 100 years
Waaldijk Tiel – Sprok, The Netherlands
H+N+S landschapsarchitecten

The water rises, the dikes are getting higher and higher. What can we do more with a dike besides widening and increasing it again and again? NEXT architects has examined within an interdisciplinary team, with H+N+S landscape architects amongst others, the opportunities for spatial development along the Waal dike and outlined alternative future scenarios for the Dutch river dike for the next 100 years. This research was held as part of the design study 'Adaptieve dijk' (adaptive dike), set up by BNA Research in cooperation with the Dutch district water boards Riverland, Valley and Veluwe, Drenthe Overijssel Delta, the provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel and the Delta Design Platform.

The Waal river is experiencing obstacles by the continuous diking and regulating; the dynamics have disappeared from the river system. This narrows the process of finding possible solutions for the upcoming water challenges. In order to break through these limitations, we have disengaged ourselves from the existing conventional dike improvement practice. The ‘Adaptieve dijk’ is not a final plan, but concerns a maintenance and growth strategy. That means permanent transformation, adaptability and renewed dynamics. The dike turns into a dike zone, a multiple and flexible use of the landscape.

The ‘Adaptieve dijk’ is a process based on rewarding a positive contribution to the spatial quality. In addition, the dynamics are a special field quality and continuous improvement and transformation are embraced as an opportunity. This requires a new attitude and new set of rules: from dispossession, to development.

The transformation cycles of the dike and the surroundings need to be coordinated. The integrated areal issues have been elaborated with development opportunities interlinked with each other for different locations. The dike at Oosterhout lends itself for the development of a multifunctional dike zone, and cyclic living on and over the dike. On the inside berm of the dike, the tree nurseries and fruit cultivation can respond to the rhythm of the land use and benefit from the extracted and stored sediment in the high floodplains and the sandwinwaters. The active landscape changes in short cycles. With particular forms of living, working and recreation, the quality of the dynamic river landscape becomes experienceable. The adaptive dike is never finished.

The BNA hopes the outcomes of the research will inspire all parties involved with the many dike reinforcement challenges of the coming decades to look from a different, more integrated way at the dike and its surroundings.