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Technology upgrade for iconic Dutch dyke


LafargeHolcim to supply concrete Quattroblocks for major sea-defence infrastructure project

LafargeHolcim have been awarded a key contract for the renovation of the Afsluitdijk, one of the key sea-defence infrastructure projects in the Netherlands, with a new, specially developed solution to protect dykes against strong waves and rising sea levels.

The new Holcim Basalton Quattroblock will cover around 700,000 square metres of the 32km long barrier. In addition, LafargeHolcim have developed a sustainable and efficient logistics solution that will see materials delivered by sea to avoid additional traffic on the dyke.


The total construction cost for the project, which is currently among the largest infrastructure upgrades in the Netherlands, is around €550 million.

To ensure timely and seamless execution, LafargeHolcim are also investing in the expansion of their Dutch concrete products plant, which forms part of the company’s Solutions & Products segment. When completed this year, the expanded plant will be able to produce 1,000 tonnes of concrete Quattroblocks a day for customers in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

LafargeHolcim, who have more than 40 years of experience in providing state-of-the-art sea-defence solutions in the Netherlands, say the investment will allow the company to grow this business further.

Marcel Cobuz, region head for Europe, said: ‘As part of our Strategy 2022 – ‘Building for Growth’, we have committed to growing the new Solutions & Products segment further. We are very proud to be a partner in this landmark project that underlines our world-class capabilities in supporting challenging infrastructure projects.

‘With sea levels expected to rise further, we are offering solutions that contribute to protecting particularly vulnerable landscapes such as the Netherlands.’

The Afsluitdijk is a prime example of Dutch hydraulic engineering excellence. Since 1932 the dyke has protected large parts of the Netherlands against flooding from the Wadden Sea, but after more than 85 years the dyke is now in need of renewal and will be significantly reinforced. Its specifications will eventually allow it to withstand a storm that could occur once in 10,000 years and will also provide protection against rising sea levels.

Rijkswaterstaat, which is part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, has commissioned the strengthening of the dyke, increasing the discharge capacity and building pumps to transport more water to the Wadden Sea. The project is led by the Levvel consortium (BAM, Van Oord and Rebel) and construction began at the end of 2018. It will be completed in 2023.

The LafargeHolcim solution will be used on the slope of the dyke. Extensive tests have shown that the new Quattroblock is 40% more stable than the previous Basalton columns. As a result, a relatively low column height could be used in the design of the Afsluitdijk, which will have major advantages in terms of durability, costs and practicability.


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