A hot-air balloon ride over the Markermeer Dykes

Markermeer Dykes Alliance

In the ‘Dijk in Uitvoering in Katwoude’ exhibition, a virtual hot-air balloon ride could be made over the 33 kilometres of dyke from Hoorn to Amsterdam that are to be reinforced. The dyke reinforcement is intended to protect more than a million people and billions of euros’ worth of property in North Holland.


Thanks to a virtual reality (VR) headset, Dykes VR Experience Tool, it was possible to soar over locations including the urban beach in Hoorn, the Zeevang dykes, and Noordeinde in Volendam. With a push on a button, the current situation would change into the future one.

The VR ride was experienced by visitors as a wonderful, innovative way of giving residents a glimpse of the future. It offered the opportunity to experience changes in the local environment as realistically as possible, providing an excellent overview of the dykes. After all, the best place to view a dyke is from above.


The visitor hops into the blue hot-air balloon’s basket and receives a VR headset. They then only have to look in the direction they wish to go and the ride gets underway. 

The experience begins in Hoorn. There it is possible to see that an urban beach is being constructed. The visitor then flies over the Het Park theatre and the new beach. By pressing a button, it is possible to compare the current situation with the future one. If the visitor wants to view a location up close, they can also press a button to virtually step out of the balloon’s basket. 

The tour then continues past Schardam to Warder and beyond. Many details have been included. Visitors can hear the ducks quacking and the seagulls screeching. While soaring through the sky, the user of the VR headset can see the country being built. Other visitors can follow on a screen, seeing exactly what the user sees.

It is also possible to highlight areas, such as at the ‘strekdam’ – a small type of breakwater. The dyke is going to be widened here. Walking is also possible in several places. This can be done at Noordeinde, for example, where the dyke will be twice as wide.

Man stands in the balloon with VR glasses.
Marinus Aalberts _VR Dijkenf.jpg
Marinus Aalberts Head office Rotterdam

Dykes VR Experience Tool

Changes to a dyke affect the local neighbourhood and the living environment. This virtual reality tool makes proposed measures visual and understandable.
A wide landscape shot of a green dike.

Want to know more?

Marinus is a dyke builder and uses digital innovations to enable participation by local residents.

Marinus Aalberts _VR Dijkenf.jpg
Marinus Aalberts Head office Rotterdam