The Delta works are the best and largest storm barriers in the world. There is a reason why the dams are nicknamed “the eighth wonder of the world”. They were designed after the floods of 1953 and offer protection to the land surrounding the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta. With the Delta Works, the chances of another flood have been reduced to once every 4000 years.
The Delta Works, consisting of 13 sections, together form the largest flood protection system in the world and are definitely worth a visit. This imposing project, also referred to as one of the seven wonders of the world, illustrates how the Dutch deal with water. Furthermore, they lie in a gorgeous environment with wonderful beaches, beautiful nature and many culinary spots.
- Discover the Eastern Scheldt Storm Surge Barrier and the Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier, impressive components of the Delta Works.
- Visit Neeltje Jans and learn about the Delta Works and the night of the North Sea Flood of 1953.
- Cycle down the ‘Delta Route’ and afterwards enjoy delicious Zeeland specialties
What can you do at the Delta Works?
The Delta Works – incorporating among others a storm surge barrier, dikes, dams and sluice gates – have much to offer for everyone who wishes to see how the Dutch deal with and protect themselves against the waters. The main attraction of the Delta Works is the Eastern Scheldt Storm Surge Barrier, a unique flood protection construction of 8 kilometers in length, that can shut off the entire Eastern Scheldt in 75 minutes. This ingenious system of 62 enormous sliding gates is meant to prevent a disastrous flood like the one in 1953. The gates are open during normal weather, preserving the marine tide nature and allowing delicious oysters to still be cultivated and Eastern Scheldt lobster to still be caught today.
But the Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier, the last component of the Delta Works located in the neighboring province of South Holland, is definitely worth a visit as well. Its large ‘arms’ – consisting of floating pontoons – can be filled with water to make them sink and form a solid barrier. In short, it’s a spectacular project that to this day protects the densely populated area around Nieuwe Waterweg and Het Scheur waterways in the Hook of Holland.
Neeltje Jans and the Brouwersdam
Deltapark Neeltje Jans, a water theme park on an island in the middle of the Eastern Scheldt Storm Surge Barrier, is a place where you can enjoy gorgeous nature, culture and technology. You can also visit the Delta Experience there, where you will learn everything about the notorious North Sea Flood of 1953. It’s an absolute must-do when visiting the Delta Works. Other highly recommended activities are a visit to National Park Oosterschelde or the Brouwersdam, where you can enjoy beautiful nature and the beaches of Grevelingenmeer lake.
Where to go for good food at the Delta Works
Oysters, Eastern Scheldt lobster and mussels: the waters around the Delta Works offer all the necessary ingredients to make excellent dishes. At Beachclub Perry (Brouwersdam 1, Scharendijke ), you can enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner with a gorgeous view. If you’re in the mood for something exclusive, De Kromme Watergang (Slijkplaat 6, Hoofdplaat) offers dishes at Michelin star level. And if you’re in the area of Neeltje Jans, be sure to try the excellent mussels of Proef Zeeland (Faelweg 1, Vrouwenpolder).
More in the area.
Anyone going to admire the Delta Works in Zeeland would do well to also visit centuries-old Zeeland towns like Middelburg, Zierikzee or Goes, where you can enjoy the true atmosphere of Zeeland. A visit to Holland’s oldest city, Dordrecht, is also highly recommended, and we advise all nature lovers to take a look in National Park De Biesbosch, a unique freshwater tidal area with very special plants and wildlife. The area around the Delta Works also offers various cycling routes past water works, through gorgeous nature and historic towns that are absolutely worth your while.
Accessibility and parking at the Delta works
The Delta Works are one and a half to two hours by car from the capital city of Amsterdam and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Rotterdam is closer, just half an hour’s drive away. If visiting by car, make sure to pay attention to where you may and may not park. At the visitors’ centers, parking is usually good, and you can also get more information there.