This article is a travel topic
The Delta Works (Dutch: Deltawerken) are a series of constructions built between 1950 and 1997 in the southwest of the Netherlands, to protect a large area of land around the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta from the sea. The works consist of dams, sluices, locks, dikes, and storm surge barriers. Along with the Zuiderzee Works, they have been declared one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The aim of the dams, sluices, and storm surge barriers was to shorten the Dutch coastline, thus reducing the number of dikes that had to be raised. In total, the Delta Works are the largest storm barrier in the world and have served as an example to many similar projects all over the world. Although plans for a coast line construction had been suggested long before, and small steps had been taken, it was the 1953 North Sea flood that led to the rapid development of the Delta plan and actual building soon after. Nearly 2000 people died in that flood, and over 150,000 hectares of land were flooded. With the Delta Works in place, disastrous floods like that should occur no more than once every 4,000 years.
It's possible to drive over the Delta Works by car, to get an idea of the massive nature of the structure. At the Haringvliet Expo and Deltapark Neeltje Jans you'll find all kinds of information about the different elements of the construction and it's possible to see part of the dams from the inside.
- Deltapark Neeltje Jans (formerly Delta Expo), . 1 Apr-6 Nov 10:00-17:30 daily. The Deltapark Neeltje Jans is the most common entry point into the Delta Works. The park has a heavy focus on children, but you can also just visit the attractions that are solely about the storm surge barrier. €21. edit
- Maeslantkering, Havennummer 882, Hoek van Holland, ☎ +31 174 511-222, . M-F 10:00-16:00, Sa-Su, hols, 11:00-17:00. Officially opened as recently as 1997, this storm surge barrier is one of the largest moving structures in the world. The free visitor's centre, het Keringhuis, does not just explain the history of the Maeslantkering, but also deals with the wider context of Dutch water management. Free. edit
- Neeltje Jans Island. An artificial island in the middle of the Oosterschelde Dam. edit
Walk or cycle up to the storm surge barrier (Oosterscheldekering), especially when it's very windy (7 bft or more) to see the power of the Northsea.