Former test location

Hard to imagine these days, but how do you calculate the complex forces that exert their influence on a major water management project without the aid of a computer? In the analogue days engineers did this among other things by simulating reality. In the Waterloopbos woods in Noordoostpolder you will find scale models of 35 renowned hydraulic projects. This is where hydraulic engineers did their testing in the nineteen fifties and sixties. The Delta Works were also tested here, as well as the ports of Rotterdam, Lagos, IJmuiden, Istanbul and Bangkok.

Why here at this spot?

The Waterloopbos is located in the Voorsterbos woods, which is sited right on the cusp between the old and new land. As the new land lies many metres lower, natural rapids occur here. With the help of this flowing water plus the creation of weirs, dams and wave machines, the engineers were able to test the influences certain forces would have on their proposed constructions.

Overgrown by nature

No testing has been done here for decades and in many places the models have been reclaimed by nature. The old water ducts, weirs and sluices are now full of plants and shrubs. Wildlife such as kingfishers and dragonflies have made their home here next to Waterloopbos’s flowing waters. A unique place where the forest interacts with the dated technology.


Deltawerk// is a remarkable, not to mention colossal artwork. The piece is located in the Waterloopbos woods in Marknesse. Artists Ronald Rietveld and Erick de Lyon were invited to turn the Delta Flume, an enormous basin for testing how the (then) proposed Delta Works would react to specific natural forces, into an enormous piece of land art.

Information centre

The information centre is the ideal starting point for a visit to Waterloopbos. You will find everything you wish to know about the woods’ special natural and cultural history here.  Various routes start from here. There is for example a ‘backpack’ route for the whole family, which challenges with fascinating nature assignments along the way. The area is also easily accessible for the less agile. There are two routes available specifically designed for the disabled (1.8 and 2.5 km). 
More info