North Sea International Airport

Royal Haskoning & Van Oord - North Sea International Airport (Copyright Royal Haskoning & Van Oord)
North Sea International Airport (Copyright Royal Haskoning & Van Oord) (click-2-enlarge)

This week Royal Haskoning and Van Oord presented a vision for the development of the Dutch coast. The case: how to protect the Netherlands when the ocean in next century rises with 60 to 80 centimeters?

Whereas Vincent Callebaut predicts the Dutch will lose 8 % of their land to the sea, engineer Royal Haskoning and dredger Van Oord suggest to increase Holland with 250 square kilometers of new land. Over a period of 25 years they want to add 3.8 billion cubic meters of sand from the bottom of the ocean to the continent.

In the plan, which is basically a business plan, a line is drawn from the planned extension of the Rotterdam Harbor all the way to the north. The shore would move about three kilometers to the west. Royal Haskoning and Van Oord have calculated that when one third of the new land will be build upon that would pay for the rest. That’s a city of 9 x 9 kilometers.

The two companies, which work together on the realization of the Palm-islands in Dubai, don’t state all that new land is actually needed to protect Holland from the new tide. A ‘slimmer’ version of the plan would probably work as well.


Royal Haskoning & Van Oord - Landcreation (Copyright Royal Haskoning & Van Oord)
Landcreation (Copyright Royal Haskoning & Van Oord) (click-2-enlarge)

In a second part of their plan, Royal Haskoning and Van Oord envision a new airport twenty kilometers off shore. In this scenario Schiphol Airport would be resurrected as North Sea International Airport. The key feature of the new airport: floating runways that could turn towards the wind.

In February this year I published an article in the Dutch liberal magazine ‘Driemaster’ about the inevitability of the realization of a North Sea Airport. On the one hand we want Schiphol to expand to be able to cheaply fly anytime, anywhere. On the other hand we also want to increase the living standards in the Amsterdam area with cleaner air and a less noise.

A series of pyramidal buildings along one runway does not solve the real issue. We can neither hope for silent airplanes, as there is simply no substitute for the jet engine. The only real solution is to move the airport. It’s what is happening all over the world.

In the article in Driemaster I further suggested a research into the chances of floating structures. That idea was inspired by the fact that there are already plans for floating greenhouses (in the Netherlands) and floating ‘islands’ (in Dubai). It seems like the obvious next step.

Although the reliability of floating structures – build from concrete, styrofoam, or a combination of the two – should be tested, it could prove to be a more economical way to build in the sea.


Royal Haskoning & Van Oord - Landcreation (Copyright Royal Haskoning & Van Oord)
Landcreation + Airport (Copyright Royal Haskoning & Van Oord) (click-2-enlarge)

Related: Holland, Milland; Tulip, by Innovatieplatform 2; Tulip, by Innovatieplatform 1; Tulip, by Eikongraphia

Also related: Lilypads, by Callebaut; ‘No’ for Tempelhof; Pyramids to reduce noise from Schiphol; Poem, by Waterstudio

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