The Afsluitdijk

The Fish Migration River

Bringing the Waddensea and the IJsselmeer together with the Fish Migration River

The Dutch landscape is notorious for their detaworks and fights with water. Almost all an ecological disaster. But in 1933 when the dutch started their biggest water management project yet, ecologie and nature was undermined by public safety. This is why the Dutch build the afsluitdijk to protect the inhabitants of the Netherlands and provide them with a long term fresh drinking water solution.


The afsluitdijk is a dike of 32 kilometers that is an hard barrier between the former zuiderzee, translated as Southern-Sea (and is now the IJsselmeer, translated as IJssel-lake) and the Wadden Sea. The Wadden Sea used to extend into the Netherlands to the Zuiderzee to connect many rivers, like the IJssel. This migration route for fish was closed of by the building of the Afsluitdijk.


Nowadays, many fish need to wait in front of the ship sluices at Kornwederzand to go through the barrier, like surfers waiting for the perfect wave. Waiting in a big and open area making them prone to predation. When the fish though get through the sudden change in salinity of the water stress them out or even kill them. Fish need a subtle change so that the can climentisce to the water. Much like breathing in your normal surroundings and suddenly the air is a light as on top of the Himalaya. This 86 year hurdle is coming to an end.


Next year 2019 the fish migration river is planned. A permanent fish migration route through the Afsluitdijk. This river will be a vijf kilometer man-made river where salt and sweet water slowly mix. A brackish river in which fish will feel at home and can manage the change between salt and sweet water of visa versa. With public safety and fresh drinking water in mind the river can still me closed off, but nowhere near the same times as the ship sluices       


Hopefully this will be a change in how we see dikes in the future. We will not only can solve problems around flooding and public safety but with a much lower cost. Because you will not destroy nature and the environment on which so many of us depend on.


Go to the official website of the Fish Migration River:

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Play the video: for an impression of the new Fish Migration River

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Play the video: for an for an 3D tour of the Fish Migration River

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