Afsluitdijk (Enclosure Dam)

Afsluitdijk (Enclosure Dam)
Construction Started1927
Construction Completed1932
Length32 km (20 miles)
Width 90m (300ft)
Elevation7.25 m (23.8 ft) above sea level


The Afsluitdijk (Enclosure Dam) is a major dam and causeway in the Netherlands. It was constructed between 1927 and 1932 and runs from Den Oever in North Holland province to the village of Zurich in Friesland province, over a length of 32 kilometers (20 miles) and a width of 90 meters (300 ft), at an initial height of 7.25 meters (23.8 ft) above sea level.

The Afsluitdijk is a fundamental part of the larger Zuiderzee Works, damming off the Zuiderzee, a saltwater inlet of the North Sea, and turning it into the freshwater lake of the IJsselmeer.

More Facts About Afsluitdijk

  • The dam serves as a sea barrier to protect the inland against flooding.
  • There were almost four-to-five thousand workers each day and 27 dredgers, 13 floating cranes, and 132 barges working carefully in shifts.
  • The final gap in the dyke was finally filled on 28 May 1932 and separating the Netherlands from the Wadden Sea.
  • It has been 85 years old constructed world biggest barrier.
  • The motorway speed limit on the Afsluitdijk 130 km/h (81 mph).

New Problems

  • Afsluitdijk has little concern about the local habitats, it caused a large drop in local fish populations.
  • Afsluitdijk is facing an erosion problem and has a sea rise concern due to climate change.
  • There are passive sluice gates in the structure to discharge water from the lake to the Wadden sea twice-a-day during low tides, but due to the rise in sea level, there is no longer drainage to the Wadden Sea.


  • Due to the rising sea levels and stronger storms, the Dutch authorities are now investing USD $617 Million to strengthen the structure so it can withstand a one-in-ten-thousand-year storm event.
  • Engineers will strengthen the dyke by adding a layer of 75,000 concrete reinforcing blocks along with its length preventing existing erosion and breaches during rough storms.
  • To ensure the lake isn’t flooded by the rivers that feed it, two of the largest pumping stations in Europe will be built alongside the sluice gates.

Fish Migration

Drainage System


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