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Delta Works
The Delta Works of Zeeland

Zeeland’s Delta Works

Whenever you visit Zeeland, you’ll be sure to pass one or more of Zeeland’s flood defences, known as the Delta Works. You may even drive across one of them. These impressive feats of engineering have been put in place to protect the land from storm surges and to connect the different islands. They hold a special place in history. Read more about Zeeland’s Delta Works below.

The origin of the Delta Works

In the night of 31 January 1953, a massive storm brought devastation to parts of the Netherlands. Large tracts of land in Zeeland were inundated with water resulting in a great many fatalities. The Delta Works were intended to make sure that no such disaster could ever happen again. These sea defences effectively closed off the large tidal inlets. Read more background information about the Delta Works.

Oosterschelde storm surge barrier

The Oosterschelde storm surge barrier is the largest of its kind in the Netherlands. This huge piece of engineering connects Noord-Beveland and Schouwen-Duiveland. At extreme high tide, the barrier closes off the Oosterschelde estuary. Parts of the Oosterschelde storm surge barrier were constructed on the artificial work island of Neeltje Jans. Today this is home to Deltapark Neeltje Jans, a theme park which revolves around water and the Delta Works.


Grevelingendam connects Schouwen-Duiveland and Goeree-Overflakkee and provides protection from flooding. Since the dam weakens the currents in the Grevelingenmeer, Volkerak and Haringvliet inlets, pressure on the other Delta Works is reduced. Not far from the dam is the Watersnoodmuseum, dedicated to the North Sea Flood of 1953. The museum tells the story of the North Sea Flood and the Delta Works.

Photography: Rijkswaterstaat


Brouwersdam provides protection from flooding and extreme seawater surges and is located between Schouwen-Duiveland and Goeree-Overflakkee. The result of the Grevelingendam and the Brouwersdam being completed was Grevelingenmeer, the largest ‘inland’ body of saltwater in Western Europe. The dam was also designed with leisure activities in mind. Brouwersdam forms a popular backdrop for festivals, such as Concert at Sea and Beachboom. There are some exciting beach pavilions too, such as Beachclub Perry's and Strandclub Zee.


At 10.5 kilometres in length, Oesterdam is the longest dam of the Delta Works and links Tholen with Zuid-Beveland. On one side of the dam is the Oosterschelde National Park, the largest of its kind in the Netherlands. On the other side is the Scheldt-Rhine Canal which carries waterborne traffic between Antwerp and Rotterdam. Since the dam separates the Scheldt–Rhine Canal from the Oosterschelde, both wildlife and shipping are protected. Together with the other dams, the Delta Works provide protection from flooding.


Zandkreekdam, between Noord-Beveland and Zuid-Beveland, was the first part of the Delta Works project to be completed in Zeeland. The dam protects Zeeland’s coastline from the ravages of the sea. Together with the Veerse Gatdam, this dam closes off the Veerse Gat. The Veerse Meer is now a wildlife haven. Since 2004, the Katse Heule culvert has been supplying saltwater from the Oosterschelde river into the Veerse Meer.

Veerse Gatdam

Veerse Gatdam connects Noord-Beveland with Walcheren. This dam too protects Zeeland’s coastline from the destructive action of the sea. A walk or cycle along the Veerse Gatdam is always a joy. On one side you can enjoy the views across the beach and on the other you can admire the Veerse Meer. Together with the Zandkreekdam, this dam closes off the Veerse Gat. The result of its construction was the closing off of the Veerse Meer, a wildlife haven where outdoor pursuits such as hiking, cycling and watersports can be enjoyed.


Philipsdam is located between Grevelingendam and Sint Philipsland. This dam has a number of functions, such as protection from flooding and separation of the freshwater lake of Volkerak-Zoommeer from the saltwater Oosterschelde estuary. Thanks to the Krammersluizen lock complex in the dam, waterborne vessels can continue to pass through. The construction of the concrete lock structure here is the largest engineering project ever carried out by Rijkswaterstaat, the national water management agency. To the south of the lock complex is the Krammertoren, a viewing tower. Information panels can be found here on the Krammersluizen lock complex and from the top of the tower there are fantastic views of the Delta Works.

Bathse Spuisluis

The Bathse Spuisluis (lock) is the only Delta Works that was not constructed as protection from flooding. The lock complex carries surplus freshwater to the Westerschelde river. In this way, the fresh water in the Zoommeer lake is replenished and its quality improved. This also ensures that the water levels in the lake do not rise excessively. Did you know that the Bathse Spuisluis lock can discharge up to 8.5 billion litres of water daily?

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