Discover five Water Museums showing the wrestle of the Netherlands with the sea. Examine the ways the Dutch struggled with and against water through the ages and prepare for climate change.
Water Museum the Flood Disaster Museum
Do not miss the Flood Disaster Museum and get to know everything about the biggest flooding ever in the history of the Netherlands. This tragedy unfolds when a heavy north-westerly storm raging for days pushes up the sea unprecedentedly high in The Channel at the end of January 1953. The dikes in the southwest of the Netherlands break well before the (spring) flood is at its highest. With a death toll of 1853 victims, the flooding is a national disaster. The first contact with the flooded area is by radio with a self-built transmitter as telephone connections are not working anymore. Three days after the flooding when the storm settles the evacuation of 100,000 people who have lost their homes begins. The Flood Disaster Museum shows a clear picture of the struggle to close the holes in the dikes and reclaim the land from the sea.
The Flood Disaster Museum exhibits an extensive photo archive but also refers to the necessity of flood prevention today because of climate change. Of course, there is also ample attention to the measures taken by the Dutch government after the disaster to prevent such floods in the future. The Dutch government launched the “Delta project”: dikes were brought to a higher level; estuaries closed by dams and a 9 km long flood defense – Oosterscheldedam – with locks was built. The moving flood defense – Maeslandkering – to protect the hinterland and the port of Rotterdam is also a part of the “Delta Project.”.
➔ Watersnoodmuseum / Flood Disaster Museum, Weg van de Buitenlandse Pers 5, Ouwerkerk.
Zeeland is the providence in the southwest of the Netherlands.
Water Museum the Waterloopbos
After the flood disaster of 1953, the Dutch government launched the Delta- Project to close estuaries and to raise the dikes. Before implementing this plan hundreds of studies have been conducted on the behavior of water in the “Waterloopbos”. The “Waterloopbos” is a monumental open-air laboratory now, where you will find the remnants of constructions to carry out the necessary research for the Delta Project.
You do want to follow the track through this lush green forest along hydraulic models used to design the Delta Project and waterworks all over the world like the ports of Bangkok, Lagos, and Rotterdam. On Sundays, there are guided tours along with the waterworks in the “Waterloopbos”. The “Waterloopbos is a member of the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH).
➔ Nature Park, Waterloopbos, Informationcenter, Voorsterweg 34, Marknesse.
Here you also find a Visitors Center and restaurant. A nice place to stay with a camper is nearby: Camperplaats Nagele, Stijkelweg 11, 8308 PE Nagele
The Wadden Center Afsluitdijk
The Wadden Center offers a unique experience of the UNESCO World Heritage the Wadden Sea. This sea dominated by sandbanks, salt marshes, and mudflats, once a source of disasters, is a wildlife resort now. The main theme of a permanent exhibition in the Wadden Center is the survival of the Dutch in the Delta through the centuries with a view to a future of climate change and sea-level rise. The closure of the Zuiderzee by a 30-kilometer-long dike in 1932 – the Afsluitdijk – is documented in a permanent exhibition. This dike, protecting the north and the center of the Netherlands against disastrous floods, is one of the absolute highlights of the struggle of the Dutch against the sea.
➔ Wadden Center Afsluitdijk 1c, Kornwerderzand
Water Museum Arnhem | Escape Room Waterproof Arnhem
The Water Museum in Arnhem is a unique and very nice museum about the handling and production of fresh water in Holland. There are a lot of activities for children. They will have a great time doing tests with magic water; crawling through some sort of sewer; solving riddles and making their own shampoo. The climax of your visit could be your struggle to get out of the Escape Room “Waterproof”. Do bring boots with you and some spare clothes. You and your children might get wet while learning about water management in the Netherlands. This very special Water Museum is located in the beautiful and trendy park of Sonsbeek, Arnhem.
➔ Watermuseum, Zijpendaalseweg 26-28, 6814 CL Arnhem.
The escape room Waterproof is located in the lowest point of the area and it has been controlled fiercely for days. Can you crack the codes in time and keep your feet dry? Put on your wellies and get going!
➔ The Escape Room “Waterproof” has to be reserved 24 hours in advance.
Water Museums – The Hollandse Waterlinie UNESCO
The unspoiled beauty of the Waterline Fortress in Vechten near Utrecht makes it an icon of the New Dutch Waterline. Put this place on your bucket list. On this vast fortress, you find the Waterline Museum. It reveals all the secrets of the main strategic military defense system of the Netherlands, which for centuries was based on flooding the land between 46 fortresses protecting the main cities in the west of the country.
Make a virtual reality tour at the museum over this military stronghold. Imagine a 200 km long ribbon with more than a hundred fortresses and five fortified cities. Connected by more than a thousand military objects: inundation channels, locks, dikes embankments, and fortresses. in 2021 the New Dutch Waterline became a UNESCO World Heritage.
➔ Water Museum The Hollandse Waterlinie: Fort bij Vechten, Achterdijk 12, Bunnik