About Marine ingenuity

As a global maritime contractor, Van Oord focuses on dredging, oil & gas infrastructure and offshore wind. Marine ingenuity is Van Oord’s signature and the foundation of our success. It is the spark that lights the spirit of our professionals.

Since 2011 the Sand Motor preserves the Dutch coastline while creating new nature and a dynamic recreational area. After 8 years we look back with three parties involved.

Still running strong

The Sand Motor: 

Sustainability

Three
perspectives

Petra Damsma

Rijkswaterstaat
Nature and High Water Safety Advisor

Sand is carried away from the Dutch coast by wind and the sea. Every five years, Rijkswaterstaat replenishes that sand along the entire Dutch coast. Since 2011, the Sand Motor has been helping. Petra Damsma, Nature and High Water Safety Advisor at Rijkswaterstaat, is closely involved in the project. 

The Sand Motor has highlighted
Dutch coastal management

Petra Damsma

Double sustainability
‘Rijkswaterstaat wishes to carry out sand suppletion in a sustainable and natural manner. By depositing a large quantity of sand in one go using the Sand Motor, repeated disturbances of the vulnerable sea bed are avoided. In this way, we combine strengthening our water safety with creating extra space for nature and recreation, which provides added value for the landscape.’

Source of knowledge
‘In the past seven years, the project has yielded a great deal of knowledge. More than ten people have now obtained doctorates on the subject of the Sand Motor. As a result, we have learnt a lot about how waves, sand and dunes develop. The Sand Motor was created for a period of at least 20 years, but initial calculations show that it will have a far longer life. We therefore continue to monitor the Sand Motor.’

Cooperation
‘Together with Van Oord, we have been working for more than 30 years to reinforce the Dutch coast and to keep the sand in position. This pilot highlights the entire process of thinking about and working with sand. Cooperation with various researchers and knowledge exchange should be given greater priority.’

Erik van Eekelen

Van Oord
Lead Engineer Environmental

The Sand Motor is a unique project on a unique scale and the result of a wide-ranging group of collaborating partners. On behalf of Van Oord, Erik van Eekelen, Lead Engineer Environmental, is involved in this true-to-life experiment. 

This example of building with nature is completely in line with Van Oord’s sustainability principle

Erik van Eekelen

Continued involvement
‘On the basis of the Building with Nature principles, Rijkswaterstaat and the Province of Zuid-Holland decided to create the Sand Motor. Van Oord carried out the project together with Boskalis. We continue to be involved in the monitoring and research, so that we can apply the knowledge gained to other projects too.’

Building with nature
‘This example of building with nature is completely in line with Van Oord’s sustainability principle. The forces of nature are used in a positive manner. At the same time, opportunities are created for the development of nature and recreation. This is a principle that can be applied worldwide to implement sustainable projects.’ 

Opportunities
‘A mega suppletion as provided by the Sand Motor can be a cost-effective solution that contributes to flexible and sustainable coastal maintenance. The Sand Motor has now become an internationally known innovation icon that is much in demand. There is a great deal of interest from abroad. In the UK, specific plans have now been drawn up.’

Henk Mulder

Fossil collector

What started as a simple invitation to come and inspect the Sand Motor resulted in a new hobby. Henk Mulder, who has now been retired for ten years, visits the Sand Motor almost every day on the lookout for shells, fossils, bones and teeth.

Sitting at home after retiring?
I prefer to walk along the beach!

Henk Mulder

Bowled over immediately
‘As a shell collector, I was able to visit the Sand Motor while it was still being constructed. During that visit, I found a jaw with three teeth. Dick Mol, the well-known specialist in ice-age mammals, was present and told me that it was the jaw of an extinct elk. I was bowled over immediately! In addition to collecting shells, I now look for fossilised bones and teeth too.’

Gift
‘The Sand Motor is a gift, and it’s only ten minutes from home by bike. I have been retired for more than ten years, which is when some people prefer to sit at home. But not me. The Sand Motor means that for me, the day is simply not long enough. As a result of my collection, I have a lot of contact with specialists and museums. That’s something I really benefit from. Dick Mol regularly comes for a day to determine the origin of new discoveries. It’s a pity that there’s not much more to be found these days.’

Dynamic
‘The Sand Motor is a very dynamic area. The area has been changed over the years by wind and the sea. When the Sand Motor had just been created, I was looking for fossils on a Sunday when I sank up to my knees in quick sand. I managed to escape, but that took a lot of effort. Later on, warning signs were put up.’

‘My greatest discovery? That’s difficult to say. Let me think: a hyena’s jaw with three carnassials? Or the tiny jaw of a baby hyena? Or the first harpoon? Or…’

Sustainability

The Sand Motor: 

Still running strong

Since 2011 the Sand Motor preserves the Dutch coastline while creating new nature and a dynamic recreational area. After 8 years we look back with three parties involved.

Three perspectives

Petra Damsma

Rijkswaterstaat
Nature and High Water Safety Advisor

Sand is carried away from the Dutch coast by wind and the sea. Every five years, Rijkswaterstaat replenishes that sand along the entire Dutch coast. Since 2011, the Sand Motor has been helping. Petra Damsma, Nature and High Water Safety Advisor at Rijkswaterstaat, is closely involved in the project. 

Double sustainability
‘Rijkswaterstaat wishes to carry out sand suppletion in a sustainable and natural manner. By depositing a large quantity of sand in one go using the Sand Motor, repeated disturbances of the vulnerable sea bed are avoided. In this way, we combine strengthening our water safety with creating extra space for nature and recreation, which provides added value for the landscape.’

Source of knowledge
‘In the past seven years, the project has yielded a great deal of knowledge. More than ten people have now obtained doctorates on the subject of the Sand Motor. As a result, we have learnt a lot about how waves, sand and dunes develop. The Sand Motor was created for a period of at least 20 years, but initial calculations show that it will have a far longer life. We therefore continue to monitor the Sand Motor.’

Cooperation
‘Together with Van Oord, we have been working for more than 30 years to reinforce the Dutch coast and to keep the sand in position. This pilot highlights the entire process of thinking about and working with sand. Cooperation with various researchers and knowledge exchange should be given greater priority.’

The Sand Motor has highlighted
Dutch coastal management

Petra Damsma

Erik van Eekelen

Van Oord
Lead Engineer Environmental

The Sand Motor is a unique project on a unique scale and the result of a wide-ranging group of collaborating partners. On behalf of Van Oord, Erik van Eekelen, Lead Engineer Environmental, is involved in this true-to-life experiment. 

Continued involvement
‘On the basis of the Building with Nature principles, Rijkswaterstaat and the Province of Zuid-Holland decided to create the Sand Motor. Van Oord carried out the project together with Boskalis. We continue to be involved in the monitoring and research, so that we can apply the knowledge gained to other projects too.’

Building with nature
‘This example of building with nature is completely in line with Van Oord’s sustainability principle. The forces of nature are used in a positive manner. At the same time, opportunities are created for the development of nature and recreation. This is a principle that can be applied worldwide to implement sustainable projects.’ 

Opportunities
‘A mega suppletion as provided by the Sand Motor can be a cost-effective solution that contributes to flexible and sustainable coastal maintenance. The Sand Motor has now become an internationally known innovation icon that is much in demand. There is a great deal of interest from abroad. In the UK, specific plans have now been drawn up.’

Erik van Eekelen

This example of building with nature is completely in line with Van Oord’s sustainability principle

Henk Mulder

Fossil collector

What started as a simple invitation to come and inspect the Sand Motor resulted in a new hobby. Henk Mulder, who has now been retired for ten years, visits the Sand Motor almost every day on the lookout for shells, fossils, bones and teeth.

Bowled over immediately
‘As a shell collector, I was able to visit the Sand Motor while it was still being constructed. During that visit, I found a jaw with three teeth. Dick Mol, the well-known specialist in ice-age mammals, was present and told me that it was the jaw of an extinct elk. I was bowled over immediately! In addition to collecting shells, I now look for fossilised bones and teeth too.’

Gift
‘The Sand Motor is a gift, and it’s only ten minutes from home by bike. I have been retired for more than ten years, which is when some people prefer to sit at home. But not me. The Sand Motor means that for me, the day is simply not long enough. As a result of my collection, I have a lot of contact with specialists and museums. That’s something I really benefit from. Dick Mol regularly comes for a day to determine the origin of new discoveries. It’s a pity that there’s not much more to be found these days.’

Dynamic
‘The Sand Motor is a very dynamic area. The area has been changed over the years by wind and the sea. When the Sand Motor had just been created, I was looking for fossils on a Sunday when I sank up to my knees in quick sand. I managed to escape, but that took a lot of effort. Later on, warning signs were put up.’

‘My greatest discovery? That’s difficult to say. Let me think: a hyena’s jaw with three carnassials? Or the tiny jaw of a baby hyena? Or the first harpoon? Or…’

Sitting at home after retiring?
I prefer to walk along the beach!

Henk Mulder