Biesbosch MuseumEiland, Werkendam, Netherlands

As one of the last extensive freshwater tidal wetlands in Northwestern Europe, De Biesbosch National Park is a haven for nature enthusiasts. Created following the St. Elizabeth flood of 1421, this marshland serves as a source of inspiration for many a photographer, birdwatcher, holidaymaker, artist and cultural institution. The Biesbosch MuseumEiland charts the past, the present and the future of the area, and places special emphasis on how man has helped to shape and make use of the area.

The permanent exhibition offers a rich overview of the history of the Biesbosch, the culture and the collection of the museum. The unique story of the Biesbosch is displayed in seven pavilions, covering its history from the Elizabeth Flood of 1421 to its current status as a recreational area. The residents, economy, crafts and nature are displayed in multimedia spaces that stimulate all senses. Original film material and photographs, interviews and tools present a personal and vivid account of the area and its residents.

In the museum you can discover the typical Dutch approach to water, a place where battles against the water have been fought, polders constructed and where man has tamed nature. And a place where flood protection has been achieved by “depolderisation”, to give areas of wetland back to mother nature.

Itineraries

Biking routes

Sailing routes

Walking routes

Videos

SERs

Sustainability building

Energy

Both the new wing and existing volume are designed to minimize energy consumption. The glass front is fitted with state-of-the-art heat-resistant glass that eliminates the need for blinds. The earthworks on the north-western side and the green roof serve as additional insulation and a heat buffer. On cold days, a biomass stove maintains the building at the right temperature through floor heating. On warm days, water from the river flows through the same piping to cool the building.

 

Willow Filter

Sanitary wastewater is purified through a willow filter: the first in the Netherlands and an acknowledgement of the wicker culture of the Biesbosch. Willows absorb the wastewater and the substances it contains, among them nitrogen and phosphate. These substances act as nutrients and help the willow to grow. The purified water is discharged into the adjacent wetland area and flows from there into the river. Once the willows are sawn and dried, the wood can be used as fuel in the biomass stove in the museum or for other purposes.

De Pannekoek Open-Air Museum

The open-air museum on the other side of the river features a wood of willows called a ‘griend’ where visitors can step back in time. Visitors can also see a duck decoy, a hut made of willows and reeds, and a beaver lodge.

Biesbosch Experience

The ‘Biesbosch Experience’ is realized on the Museum Island in the spring of 2016. This scale model of the Biesbosch, with polders, dikes and streams, explains the water management function and importance of the area when water levels are high. Within a half-hour cycle, the water changes from ‘extremely low’ to ‘extremely high’. Children and adults are able to alter the course of the water by operating various kinds of locks.

Freshwater Tidal Park

The Museum Island is a freshwater tidal park on the island that receives river water through a newly dug creek. The tides and seasonal variations in water levels can be clearly experienced thanks to the gentle slope of the banks along the creek. The slopes also create a rich diversity of flora and fauna, so that every visit to the island will be different. A meandering path provides access to the island, which continuously changes in appearance because of the changing water levels.

Drinking water

Large parts of South Holland and Zeeland use drinking water made from the water in three reservoirs in the Biesbosch. One of the reservoirs is next to the museum.

 

Water safety

Water safety was the key reason for the development of the Biesbosch Museum Island. As part of a national water safety programme, the 4450-hectare Noordwaard polder has been turned into a water-retention area. Outlets on either side of the Biesbosch Museum were dug to create a new island.