The Netherlands and water; they are inextricably linked. Beyond the Dutch coast and its protective dunes lies a landscape dotted with waterways, lakes, rivers, canals, ponds, and water ditches. The Netherlands owes not only its beauty, but also its wealth to the water.
Almost a third of the Netherlands is below sea level. The Dutch developed their mastery of water over many years, using mills, pumping stations, polders, and dikes to tame both ebb and flow. Later came waterworks such as the Afsluitdijk dam and causeway and the Delta Works which protect the Dutch land from the brute force of the sea.
The complex infrastructure utilised by the Netherlands is the result of an age-old collaboration between citizens, governments, and businesses. The water boards play an important role in water management in the Netherlands. All residents pay a yearly water board tax and participate in decision-making by voting in water board elections. The first, still operating, water board was established in Leiden in 1255. New technologies such as wind-water mills for water level control and mud mills for the prevention of the siltation of the waterways, played a major role in the development of the country. Around 1800, hydraulic engineering became a fully-fledged specialism at universities, with subjects including hydrostatics and mathematics, dry docks, suction pumps, and the spoon dredger.
Defence against water was historically the responsibility of the local communities, under the motto, “those on the dike must also maintain it”. Contractors were called in for this and eventually specialized hydraulic engineers and dredging companies, such as Royal Boskalis and Van Oord, were created. Together with knowledge institutions such as Deltares and specialist engineering firms, these companies are the frontrunners when it comes to hydraulic engineering, water management and water defence. Two iconic examples are the Maeslantkering in the Netherlands and the New York Harbor Storm Surge Barrier in America.
Middle Point is a partner for permanent and project-based work for dredging companies, offshore contractors, water boards, and engineering firms. We have built a solid reputation in finding suitable personnel for these industries. Take a look at our vacancies for the most up-to-date positions available in the Dutch market.