Kinderdijk water entry

The UNESCO World Heritage Site Kinderdijk attracts an increasing visitor flow despite the area not being equipped to handle it. The municipality of Molenland launched a public competition to find an innovative and feasible solution for safe, comfortable access for visitors from the waterfront, which will also do justice to the World Heritage status.

Witteveen+Bos is rising to the challenge with an integrated team considering water safety, spatial quality and heritage. The design concept has been developed into a sketch design. We worked out the landscape and other architectural specifications within the constraints of water safety, traffic, visitor flows and the protected heritage status.

The design concept features one ingenious main intervention: an entrance through one of the ducts of the Elshoutsluizen locks, where water safety is still guaranteed. This new entrance solves an unsafe traffic situation, focusing all attention on the entirety of hydraulic elements. In moving through the ducts, the visitor is presented with a sublime panorama of the very typical windmills.

The main challenges within this project were:

  • to arrive at a design concept where a complex spatial situation of traffic, water safety and visitor entry is ‘untangled’ in a self-evident way;
  • the development of a subtle intervention respecting the characteristic image of the mill complex and guaranteeing water safety.
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