dikes + quays

Landscape vision for the dikes of South-Holland

The province of South Holland is the dike country par excellence and it is striking how defining the dikes are for the landscape. Many dikes will have to be reinforced in the coming years. This spatial perspective provides tools so that the dikes and quays form an important part of South Holland’s landscape that we can rightly be proud of. Not only now, but also in the future!



More than in many other parts of the country, the dikes in South Holland cannot be called ‘bare dikes’. People live, work and recreate on, at and behind the dike. In the past, the approach to dike improvement was primarily focused on water safety. These days there is a broad awareness that the dike is more than a flood defense. This means that the dike reinforcement closely touches on other tasks and is more often part of a wider area task.

Map image dike typology
From dike reinforcement to integral area development

In recent years, the future dike reinforcement task has become clear in its entirety. The assignment is urgent, large in size and touches on numerous landscape qualities. The ambition for the upcoming dike reinforcements is a good balance between water safety, the utility value and the experiential value of the dikes.


All dikes in the province have been mapped and typified. A ‘dike passport’ has been drawn up for each type of dike containing a description of the history of origin and current appearance as well as the ambition for the future. Subsequently, the tasks facing the dikes were mapped and a vision was developed how this can be well implemented.

Dike typology

To arrive at this dike typology, a landscape perspective has been chosen, in which the subsurface, history of origin and the current use of the dike have been taken into consideration. In developing the dike typology, it has continuously been an exploration to arrive at spatially clearly distinctive types in order to maintain an overview, yet at the same time to do justice to the wide variety of dikes and quays. Four main landscape types were used as an aid in this order: the sea clay polder landscape, peat area landscape, land reclamation landscape, and the coastal landscape.

Overview of the dike's types


The focus is on a new and good balance between water safety, the utility value and the experiential value of the dikes. The strategy: from dike reinforcement to area development. Six guiding principles have been drawn up to give substance to this.

Leading principles


A number of dike zones stand out because integral tasks come together on a regional scale. These areas deserve special attention. One can think of open processes to explore opportunities with partners and stakeholders, development of new concepts, clear choices for the future and special partnerships to come to realization step by step.



The Province has converted the spatial perspective to a website, in the same way as the provincial area profiles.