Water Barrier Steyl

Balcony to the Maas

An innovative flood defense system will make the Limburg monastery village of Steyl safe from high water in the future. The self-closing barrier is designed as a balcony on the Maas and thus offers, in addition to functionality, many possibilities for interacting with the river. It is an enrichment of the village view because the unobstructed view of the river from the monumental monastery village is preserved.
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Bart Reuser, Marijn Schenk, Michel Schreinemachers with Rutger van der Meer, Angelos Chouliaras

Dijkzone Alliantie Steyl – Dura Vermeer, Ploegam, Hollandia Infra, Maters en De Koning, Svasek hydrolics, Fugro en Trafique – ontwerpers van landschap en leefomgeving.

Exploring flood defense

The dyke improvement in Steyl-Maashoek is part of the national Flood Protection Programme. After the flood in the summer of 2021, the current dike was not high or strong enough to protect the village in the future. The new 3.75-meter-high self-closing flood defense system is based on the existing Vlotterkering system but has never before been used on this scale and in this form for the purpose of flood risk management. The innovative design combines flood risk management, functionality, and connection to the river.

Connecting architectural elements

The monastery village of Steyl has been designated as a protected village, both the view on and from the Maas are special. The self-closing flood defense system is designed as a balcony on the Maas, which rises by itself at high water. The unobstructed view of the river from the monumental village is only taken away when it is necessary, with high water. The balcony with built-in seating areas is an addition to the public space, an inviting place to stay where residents can enjoy the dynamics of the river. The Maas balcony fits within Steyl’s existing architecture and forms a natural modern part of the monastic ensemble. The picturesque character of the village will be preserved, and high-water safety will be guaranteed in the future.

Creating a safe barrier

At high water, the flood defense is activated. Because the floating elements under the construction fill with water, the Maas balcony hinges upwards and forms a continuous flood defense together with the gates. The technical valve is equipped with decking components with built-in seating areas, where people are invited to sit on the balcony at low tide. The gates made of recycled brick are equipped with facilities for flora and fauna and form a special entrance to Steyl from the river area.

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