• Customer
  • Directorate General of Public Works and Water Management
  • Location
  • Nieuwegein
  • Scale
  • S
  • Period
  • 2015
  • Partners
  • Besix
  • Heijmans
  • Quist Wintermans Architekten BV
  • RebelValley
  • TDP

The Princess Beatrix lock in Nieuwegein is the largest monumental waterway lock in the Netherlands. This canal forms the most important direct connection between the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Due to the increasing number of ships passing through the Lek Canal, the Beatrix lock is starting to become a bottleneck. It has therefore been decided to construct a third lock and to widen the canal.


The Sas van Vreeswijk consortium, of which H+N+S is a member, has won the tender for the construction of the third lock chamber of the Princess Beatrix lock and widening of the Lek Canal. Construction works will start in the autumn of 2016 and the project will be finalised in 2020. In this project H+N+S is responsible for the spatial quality, the landscape plan and landscape integration. 

Impact on the landscape

Due to this project the landscape will change a lot round the New Dutch Waterline (NDW) between the Amsterdam Rhine Canal and the Lek river. Moreover, the development of the industrial site Het Klooster will have a major impact as well. The plan focuses on the landscape qualities of peatlands and inundation fields of the NDW, as well as on a careful relocation of monumental objects part of the NDW. 

current situation
current situation
current situation
current situation
current situation
current situation

The route along the dike will be formed by a straight line without bends and winding movements

The plan area is divided into two parts: the rural context of the Lek dike in the south and the Lek Canal in the north. The transition between these two parts is located at the Beatrix lock. At the same time, it is important to maintain rural coherence in a uniform way. The route along the dike will be formed by a straight line without bends and winding movements. 



The project is a Design, Build, Maintain & Finance (DBFM) project, meaning the contractor will design, build and finance the project and will be responsible for the management and maintenance of the building for a period of 27 years. The Directorate General of Public Works and Water Management selected Sas van Vreeswijk on the basis of the combination of price and quality, also referred to as the most economically advantageous tender.

Plan area overview map


Coherence and experience NDW

During the construction of the Lek Canal and the Beatrix lock (opened in 1938), the original water line had to be relocated to its current position. With the construction of the third lock chamber and the canal widening the water line needs to be relocated yet again. This time from the cultural-historic awareness to preserve this part of the NDW. The aim is to make the different parts of the NDW recognisable and perceivable, with a new dike profile forming the route along the canal which refers to the old line dike.

Lock complex impression from the north
Lock complex impression from the south
Impression Schalkwijkse Wetering from the south
Lock complex impression
mpression Schalkwijkse Wetering from the south-east

Historic profile

In the northern part, bordering the flood lock complex, lies a part of the original line dike that does not need to be relocated. The quality of this piece of dike is poor; subsided slopes, a temporary road to facilitate the construction process and rising plants have made the dike unrecognisable. Here lies an opportunity to strengthen the story and experience of the NDW. At his location we are reconstructing the old line dike.

Emphasising the bend

The bend in the canal route is emphasised to indicate the widening of the canal and relocation of the line dike. The historic profile and new profile end with concrete retaining walls to create a broad space overlooking the peatlands and, on the other side, overlooking the widened canal. The area between the bicycle track and footpath forms a creative resting point. 


The profile design of the new line dike is simple and robust and is emphasised by a double row of poplar trees. The profile was designed differently from the old line dike to avoid confusion and falsifying the past. This clear profile will be continued along the entire Lek Canal. In the southern part (beyond the watercourse in Schalkwijk) the profile is identical to the northern part, however without the diverted watercourse.

New water line dike along the watercourse in Schalkwijk
New water line dike beyond the watercourse in Schalkwijk

Objects Trouvé

Due to the canal widening, historic objects of the NDW are in danger of being lost. It was decided to maintain these objects by replacing them as alienating ‘ Objects Trouvé’ in the free space of the landscape zone between the dike and the industrial estate. The relocation is more or less perpendicular to the old line dike and the distance between the objects remains the same as in the current situation.

Relocation scheme Objects Trouvé
profile object trouvé; bunker
profile object trouvé; old lock
profile object trouvé; Schalkwijkse Wetering
planuitwerking Schalkwijkse Wetering

Lock complex

The Beatrix lock is a special complex and was designated as an industrial national monument. During the construction of the third lock chamber there’s an opportunity to remove additions from the current lock complex that impair the original architectural character. The control room of the lock will be replaced to a new strategic location between the second and third lock. In this way the current control room, including the bridge, will be superfluous and will therefore be removed.

The new lock chamber matches the first and second lock chamber in colour and materials. The new lock is secondary to the historic lock. The lock and built elements are below ground level (7.80 + NAP). The third lock eastwards from the path is a contemporary and robust element. The gates, surrounded by green slopes, provide the architectural expression of the operation of the new lock.

lock chamber plan map

Ecological connection

A sightly ascending slope is formed due to the fact that the road along the lock chamber subsides. Consequently, the northern lock gate case will become visible and forms a tough concrete element rising from ground level. At the end of the lock a group of lime trees will be planted forming the ecological connection for bats together with the row of trees along the path of the lock. Important lines of sight in the surrounding area were taken into account in determining the position of trees and what trees should be planted. 

Southern Lock end

At the southern lock end a viewing point will be created in the form of a small square with two long benches, a few information panels and bicycle stands. It will be possible to walk on the most southern part of the lock gate cases creating a spectacular viewing point on the lock itself and on the access route.

Lek dike

For the profile design on the southern part of the lock complex on the Lek dike we will follow the proposals made in the landscape plan (B+B) which was drawn up earlier. The road on the crest of the dike will be made of bricks. Herb seeds will be sown in the wide verge to create a flowery verge.

Casemat east of Vreeswijk

At the casemate along the Lek dike in the east of Vreeswijk a recreative resting point will be constructed. The dike will be widened to make room for 6 parking lots, a bicycle stand, a bench and information panels. A staircase will be constructed on both sides of the dike giving access to the informal footpath which leads to the viewing point where the Lek canal and the Lek river meet.


Former employer Inge Kersten

Want to know more?

Frank Talsma Project leader, Landscape architect
Camille Poureau Landscape architect
Pieter Schengenga Director, Landscape architect



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