A Strong Lekdijk at Salmsteke


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Location: The Netherlands / Utrecht / Type: Flood Resilience / Waterfronts / Built: 2021 /
Show on Google Maps / Published on May 16, 2023

Nature and recreation in equilibrium in a dynamic foreland

The De Stichtse Rijnland Water Board is working under the slogan ‘Strong Lekdijk’ on reinforcing the Lekdijk between Amerongen and Schoonhoven. In addition, within the Stichtse Groenlanden Recreation Board, the Water Board is also one of the parties that have working together since 2015 on the development of the foreland adjacent to the dike at Salmsteke. The objective here is to create a future-resistant ecological area with wet and dry nature and room for recreation. Strootman Landschapsarchitecten has worked with WSP and the involvement of the local population in drawing up an integral design that adds value to both aspects.

The River Lek between Amerongen and Schoonhoven meanders through an open landscape with a rich natural and cultural history. In front of the dike are the water meadows with (potentially) exceptional nature because of the effect of the tides and the river dunes, while behind the dike are the farms, towns and villages, orchards and meadows. Several bodies of water left behind after a dike break and clay pits are reminders of the struggle against the water.

The design for the dike and foreland gives priority to the security of the dike. The compact, recognisable dike in our design gives primacy to cyclists and making as positive an impact as possible on the environment, for example by restoring the marsh at the foot of the dike, the continuity of the maintenance path through the foreland, and the provision of pedestrian access.

In designing the foreland, we have tried to achieve a new symbiosis between recreation and nature and a natural design. This is materialised in clay pits with wet natural values beside the foot of the dike, natural grasslands on the broad river bank, and dynamic gully and river banks. The new tidal gully has two arms, one of which is designated as a safe swimming area. The banks are designed as reed marshes, and dead trees or stumps are recycled by placing them in the river to enrich the river ecology.

The recreational area is redesigned for recreation, parking, and a few events with enough space for a catering pavilion beside the new beach. We have drawn up spatial conditions for its design and embedding in the landscape. With the new Lekdijk, Salmsteke not only gains a secure dike, but also a recreational area for everybody all year round. It invites visitors to wander beside the clay pits, over the recreational strip and north of the gully, and to roam through the natural grasslands.

Project Data

Landscape Architecture: Strootman
In cooperation with: WSP
Mourik (implementation)
Design year: 2019-2020
Year Built: 2021-
Photographer: Ton van Es (drone images)

Streetview may show situation before the intervention

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