IJmuiden sea lock: the largest in the world

The project

After almost one hundred years, the existing North Lock in IJmuiden has been replaced by a new, larger lock to secure and improve the accessibility of the port of Amsterdam. The IJmuiden sea lock is the largest in the world, with a lock chamber measuring 500 metres in length, 70 metres in width and 18 metres in depth. OpenIJ commissioned Iv to design the lock gates and operating mechanisms.

The challenge

The design of the new sea lock at IJmuiden is heavily influenced by specific requirements for reliability, robustness, and spatial constraints. The lock, located between the existing Middle Lock and North Lock, had to remain operational for marine navigation and road traffic during construction. The limited available width within which the new lock heads and rolling gates had to be fitted presented a design challenge that required all the stops to be pulled out. Therefore, rolling gates with a conventional cable drive mechanism such as those used in almost all large rolling gates, were ruled out. Innovative solutions that were reliable and required minimal maintenance had to be devised.

The impact

With the completion of the new IJmuiden sea lock, the port of Amsterdam will be accessible to the latest generation of seagoing vessels. The lock complex functions as a primary flood defence, which means that the sea lock not only keeps the region around Amsterdam easily accessible for the ever-increasing size of seagoing vessels but also protects part of our country from high water and rising sea levels for the next hundred years. With a retention height of 8.85 m + NAP, the new lock is ready for the future.

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Wouter van der Wiel