Benthem Crouwel Architects is reinforcing the Afsluitdijk. Together with West 8 Urban Design & Landscape architecture, Benthem Crouwel Architects forms the design team of Levvel - a combination of BAM, Van Oord and Rebel. The project, which includes not only strengthening the dike but also increasing the water discharge capacity, started late 2018.The name Levvel is a palindrome, based on the Dutch phrase: “Lely’s erfgoed veiliggesteld” which means “securing Lely’s heritage”. It refers also to the water level management of the IJsselmeer and the turning of high tide, two important functions of the Afsluitdijk.

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a Dutch icon

The Afsluitdijk is an icon of hydraulic engineering. The 32-kilometre long water barrier (the longest dam in Europe), completed in 1932, has been protecting the Netherlands from flooding for almost 90 years. It is a unique and impressive feat of Dutch engineering, and with the Chinese Wall, it’s one of the two man-made structures on Earth that can be seen from space.

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Reinforcements and renovations

With respect for the hydraulic heritage and the iconic emotional value of the Afsluitdijk, Benthem Crouwel Architects (together with West 8) is designing various reinforcements and renovations: reinforcement of the dike, new pumping stations to pump water out of the IJsselmeer into the Wadden Sea even at high tide, a fish migration river and a new bike path on the seaward side. The famous Dudok monument will also be updated.

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Future ready

With the strengthening of the Afsluitdijk, a priceless construction with an inestimable practical, emotional and historical value to the Dutch will be ready for the future.