co-creation helps us re-create history

Deltares is re-creating an iconic piece of Dutch history through ‘Project 1672’. Using modern technology, we are bringing the Old Dutch Waterline back to life.

In 1672 the Dutch Republic’s government came up with an innovative form of defence as a solution during the Franco-Dutch War. The government decided to inundate large parts of Holland, Utrecht, and Brabant, creating an impenetrable waterline to halt the advance of the French army. It spanned from Amsterdam to ‘s-Hertogenbosch; at its height it was larger than the IJsselmeer. For 18 months the French tried to cross the waterline, to no avail. It was a feat of improvisation and water management.

This immense flooding begs the question:

How did they do it?

Re-creation of 1672

To mark the 350-year anniversary, Deltares teamed up with partners to re-create the flood in Delft3D FM Suite 1D2D, and to tell the story of the Waterline and its relevance to the challenges we face today.


But this project is not just about re-creating history; from the outset it has also been about co-creation. Building a historical model requires combining expertise from multiple disciplines, including cultural history, physical geography, and water management. This approach aligns perfectly with our digital transformation, in which smart co-creation is central. Working in an agile manner, we adopted short sprints. Everyone involved in the project contributed to the solution. This worked very well, especially given the many uncertainties the project faced.

More information

Koen Berends

Expert river dynamics and inland shipping