Water safety is literally a matter of life and death for the Netherlands, especially when we consider the climate changes that are causing rising sea levels and greater water discharge via the major rivers. The Netherlands has a worldwide reputation for its knowledge of water works and water safety. TNO and Deltares are working together to continue developing that knowledge.

TNO has knowledge of hydraulic structures such as locks, and Deltares has knowledge of how water and soil behave. Both TNO and Deltares work on risk-analysis methods and on calculation methods, standards and criteria. TNO and Deltares are working together to ensure that their approach to these methodologies, calculation rules and standards are based on the same principles, thereby facilitating a clear and consistent test framework for water works and water safety. For water safety, this is embodied in statutory assessment instruments (Wettelijk Toetsinstrumentarium, WTI). For existing structures it is embodied in, for example, assessment guidelines (Richtlijn Beoordelen Bestaande Kunstwerken, RBBK).

Construction knowledge

The locks, dams and water defences are old civil works and we want them to remain in use for as long as possible. Replacing or renovating them costs money and also causes hindrance and nuisance. One of the ways in which TNO applies its knowledge of structures is to extend the service life of existing structures by means of assessments and the realisation of innovations.

Focus areas

Focus areas relating to locks and water safety include:

Hydraulic civil works

Due to the ageing process, a raft of renovation and renewal projects is imminent for hydraulic works. The priority for TNO in this context is to extend service life. This work includes contributing to the development of unequivocal test frameworks, efficient inspection and monitoring techniques, and methodologies for assessing performance, cost and risk. In the field of service-life extension, and for renovation and new construction, TNO is working on innovations in materials and structures, and on possibilities for implementing them in the relevant locations.

Water safety

TNO plays an important role in terms of the philosophy, risk approach and implementation of methodologies for calculating water safety. With our knowledge of probability theory (probabilistics) we contribute to the development of models and guidelines for calculating and assessing hydraulic engineering structures in water defences.

Our work

Extending service life civil structures

Structures are designed to have a long service life. This is usually between 50 and 100 years. Many of the civil structures in the Dutch infrastructure are more than half way through their intended service... Read more


Drs. Babette Lassing-van der Spek

  • hydraulic