Stormvloedkering Oosterschelde : Michelin's recommendations
Begun in 1976, the dam on the eastern Escaut was inaugurated 10 years later. The road passing over the dam opened in 1987. This 3-km-long hydraulic work is unique in the world. The initial dam project, which involved the complete closure of the eastern Escaut, was modified to keep communication open between the estuary and the sea. The storm containment dams consists of tall pillars (about 38 m high) between which, in case of danger, can slide gates of steel 40 m wide. In normal weather, the gates are open, and fishing, oyster culture and mussel farming are all possible. If necessary, they can be lowered in an hour. The building Ir. Tops or Ir. Topshuis, constructed on the former artificial island Neeltje Jans, shelters the dam's central command post. In the same building, the Waterland Neeltje Jans exhibit makes it possible to comprehend the importance of the work in the Delta; it also illustrates the history of hydraulic works in the Low Countries. An animated model reproduces the tidal wave of 1953, after which it was decided to build the Delta dams. Don't fail to take a guided tour of one of the dam pillars (especially at high tide). There you'll see the control room, where you can check out the oil pumps and the electric controls. Notice how strong the current is: here each tide contains more than 800 million cubic meters of water.