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Big floods are regularly breaking news around the globe and have always been a great threat to the Netherlands which are partially below sea level. The Delta Works were built to protect the lower areas in the Netherlands against flooding. The Delta Works are a series of huge structures that protect the Dutch provinces of South-Holland, North-Brabant and Zeeland against high North Sea tides and storms. The Delta Works are a unique piece of civil engineering and attract a lot of international visitors. They have been declared by the U.S. Society of Civil Engineers as one of the seven wonders of the modern world.
In 1953, a major flood put nearly 200,000 hectares (800sqm) of Dutch land under water and killed nearly 2000 people. This disaster triggered the decision to build the Delta Works and to close some estuaries to radically shorten the Dutch coastline to enable a better protection against the sea. The Delta Works consist of nine dams and four barriers which were built between 1958 and 1997 in the Dutch Provinces of Zeeland, South-Holland and North-Brabant. The most impressive Delta Works structures are the Eastern Scheldt Barrier (Oosterscheldekering) and the Maeslant Barrier (Maeslantkering). Most Delta Works dams have motorways on top and these guardian angels can be visited for free.
The Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier (or Oosterscheldekering in Dutch) in the Dutch Province of Zeeland is the largest structure of the Delta Works with a length of nine kilometers (nearly 6 miles). The Eastern Scheldt barrier is a unique piece of hydraulic engineering, as a highly complex dam was built to protect the Netherlands against high tide and storms. This barrier contains huge 45 meter wide lock gates, which are nearly always open in order to keep the water behind the Eastern Scheldt dam salty and commercial fishing can continue. At spring tide in combination with stormy weather, these huge barrier doors are closed to protect the below sea level Netherlands against the North Sea. The motorway N57 runs actually over the Eastern Scheldt dam and you can see the impressive hydraulic gates from inside and outside the barrier. Crossing the barrier by car is free, but tickets for the gates are available at Delta park Neeltje Jans.
Neeltje Jans is the name of an artificial island that was reclaimed during the construction of the Delta Works as a logistic aid to build the Eastern Scheldt barrier. Nowadays the water theme park called Delta Park Neeltje Jans is located on this island. Neeltje Jans offers several family attractions like a seal show, a hurricane simulator, a 3-D movie, a swinging ship, a water playground and a quick water slide. You can also take a boat tour to see the natural world of the Eastern Scheldt and if you're lucky you might spot some seals or porpoises during your trip! At the Delta Expo exhibition centre you can watch a film about the history and construction of the Delta Works. At Neeltje Jans, a huge salt water aquarium shows colourful sea anemones, shrimps, lobsters and rays which have its habitat within the Eastern Scheldt estuary.
Another masterpiece of the Delta Works is the Maeslant barrier near Hoek van Holland. This barrier is easily accessible from Rotterdam and well worth a visit. The Maeslant barrier is one of a kind, as it consists of two huge moving arms, which can close the waterway to Rotterdam in case of extremely high tides. This part of the Delta Works construction is also very complex, as the port of Rotterdam must remain accessible for huge vessels at all times, while in case of an emergency the barrier protects the city of Rotterdam against high water. The Maeslant Storm barrier also offers a visitor centre and you can you book a guided tour.
|Apr - Oct|
|Monday||10:00 - 17:30|
|Tuesday||10:00 - 17:30|
|Wednesday||10:00 - 17:30|
|Thursday||10:00 - 17:30|
|Friday||10:00 - 17:30|
|Saturday||10:00 - 17:30|
|Sunday||10:00 - 17:30|
|Age under 2||Free|
|Age from 2 till 4||€6|
|Age from 4 till 12||€15|
|Age from 12||€17|
|Age under 2||Free|
|Age from 2 till 4||€8|
|Age from 4 till 12||€17|
|Age from 12||€22.5|
Delta Park Neeltje Jans is located at Faelweg 5 in the small city of Vrouwenpolder, 96 km south of Rotterdam. Travel to Neeltje Jans by train from Rotterdam Central Station to Middelburg and change to bus 133 to Neeltje Jans. The total trip time is about 2 hours and 15 miutes. In winter it's a bit complicated to visit Neeltje Jans by public transport, so a rental car from Rotterdam would be a good alternative. Plan your trip for free at www.9292.nl.
Follow highway A16 direction Dordrecht, highway A15 direction Europoort and take main road N57 to the south. Neeltje Jans is located along the scenic N57 with a great view on the North Sea and the Delta Works, but your speed is monitored by photo enforcement. Follow the signs to Neeltje Jans. The total trip time from Rotterdam to Neeltje Jans is 1 hour and 15 minutes. Pay to park your car at the private Neeltje Jans parking lot.
"Seafood. Nice show by seal. And a monument of human courage and tenacity."
"Beautiful! Worth it if you have children. If not, just for viewing, it is not worth the price. It is super expensive for someone. Buy ticket via internet to save 2 euros. But even then, it is too expensive for what you see."
"The Delta Works are an impressive man-made realization. The technologies involved and the sheer size of this project is mouth-watering for any engineering/technology enthousiast. The park provides interesting background information on the project in the form of two (slightly dated) movies and an impressive new 4D-immersion. I'm less enthousiastic about the animal attractions, I just don't think it is right to keep animals in captivity. However, be warned that they made the park into a mercyless cashcow. Entrance is seasonal and 17/20 euro when you order online (the process is a bit of a hassle if you're a group. Since you have to download each ticket individually). Parking is another 7euros! Which feels like a big rip-off because you can't really access the site on foot easily. Then there's a restaurant that serves poor quality fast-food at pretty high prizes. Expect to pay around 40-50euros each for an afternoon of sight seeing... Without these elevated prices I'd be happy to give the park a higher rating."
"Well worth a visit to understand what happened in 1953, and what the Dutch have done about it since to prevent it happening again. The audio/visual show is very well done, a slight word of warning, it might a bit scary for very young children. Yes it is primarily an engineering exhibition, but that doesn't detract from it at all, the Delta works scheme was a brilliant engineering solution, and you can see how it was constructed, including going inside the sluices. There is plenty to see and do for families, on a nice day, take a picnic there are plenty of places to sit and enjoy it, having said that, the restaurant is well laid out, the food is very good and not over priced. Some areas of the site are looking a little run down here and there, but overall it was an enjoyable day out, and if you take your time, it will take you all day to cover it all."
"There is definitely more to this park than meets the eye. A lot of thought has went into making interesting and relevant attractions. Must do's within are the (optional) boat ride which takes you around the general area, and the short walk to the actual bridge where you can go inside and see the gates right up close. A big downside is the price of admission which is quite high, and the price of the food inside the cafeteria is extremely high as well. Other than that it is a great place to spend the whole day."
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