Breskens delta dyke

The flood defences along the bank of the River Schelde around Breskens were raised to delta level within the framework of the national delta programme. The plan for the delta barrier in the area of fort Frederik Hendrik comprises a paved dyke with a concrete water-retaining wall on top.

breskens-curved wall

Parklaan elaborated and finalised the technical design produced by Scheldestromen Water Board. The ultimate design portrays the history of the site in the defence of the Netherlands.

klein informatiepaneel op waterkering

This history is visible from aboard the Vlissingen - Breskens ferry. The location of the fort can be clearly distinguished by the red (fortification) coloured delta dyke and the grey delta wall. From the beach side, the various names that the fort has borne throughout the ages are visible. The words ‘Scheldeveste Breskens’ are proudly emblazoned close to the harbour, while the concrete section by the fort bears the names ‘fort Imperial’, ‘fort Frederik Hendrik’ and ‘Atlantikwall’.

breskens-vieuw from the river Schelde

The fort itself, which is located beyond the dyke, has been transformed in the 1980s into a holiday park and bungalows. Only the contours of the structure serve as a vague reminder of its past. A survey carried out by RAAP Archaeological Consultancy revealed that the curve present in this section of the delta dyke dates back to the time when the fort was established. The curve marks the spot where the artillery or battery was previously set up.

The concrete wall traces this curve, in reference to the structure of the fortifications. The concrete delta wall bears the various names by which the fort was known. The letters on the beach side are particularly large. The section where the battery stood features a pattern based on the plan of the fort and the battery.

breskens-vieuw from the seaside

Significant events in the history of the fort are portrayed on the landward side (which is a bicycle and pedestrian promenade). The letters on this side are smaller, while the section where the battery stood features a pattern representing the guns. The guns are aimed over the River Schelde as it were.

breskens-staircases and vieuw from the promenade

Stairways have been constructed both in the dyke and over the delta wall to ensure that Breskens beach remains readily accessible. The stairs in the dyke are made of concrete, and form part of the paved dyke. Those that provide access over the wall, however, are particularly light and independent of the wall itself. They do not interrupt the long continuous line of the wall, and can be easily detached in the event of storms or spring tides, without causing damage to the wall.