The flood museum is located in the four caissons that were used in 1953 to close the final opening in the dike. Walking into the museum is like walking into the history of water from 1953 up until now. Discover what the museum can teach you about water and water safety.

The dikes break (Caisson 1)

It is the night of Saturday 31 January and Sunday 1 February 1953. A severe north-westerly storm pushes the waters of the North Sea up high into the English Channel. Even before springtide has reached its highest point, the dikes break in the southwest of The Netherlands.

In caisson 1, the story of the Flood is told. This is done through historical polygon images and a number of seemingly ordinary objects. Together, these paint the picture of the disaster that occurred that night. The collection of photo albums and folders with newspaper clippings about the Flood is also worthwhile to browse through.

Personal stories
In the media corner of caisson 1, stories from victims, rescue workers and other people caught up in the disaster are told and shown as part of the Oral History Project ‘1953, The Story’. Project leader Jaap Schoof has, together with volunteers from the Watersnoodmuseum, interviewed numerous people and recorded their stories. The search for witnesses and their stories still continues. The stories are not only recorded for use in the museum; all the interview materials are also saved in the Zeeuwse Archives.

Despair and decisiveness (Caisson 2)

During the night of the disaster, people desperately try to seek help via the phone, but the lines are down. Amateur radio operators do succeed with a homemade transmitter. Rescue operations are started.

In caisson 2 you will find stories about despair and decisiveness. The despair of those who were hit by the Flood and the decisiveness of the helpers: from Urk fishermen and the Red Cross to the military.

Multimedia project 1835 + 1 – an interactive installation – keeps the memory alive of those who died: 1835 registered victims and the baby who was born on the night of Saturday 31 January, but subsequently drowned that night and was never found. Family members and friends describe – sometimes just by small details – the loved ones they lost. The visitor hears the stories after the name of the victim is spoken out loud.

There are different lists of victims of the Flood of 1953. The Watersnoodmuseum follows the official list by the Red Cross. This list is organised by municipality of decease and by surname for every town and village.

Repairing and strengthening the dikes (Caisson 3)

Day and night, people work with all their might to repair the dikes and houses and reorganize the destroyed landscape.

In caisson 3, machines can be seen that were used in repairing the dikes. To make sure that a disaster like the one in February 1953 will never happen again, the Deltaplan is drawn up: one of the most revolutionary hydraulic engineering projects in the world. In the final section of caisson 3 the modern ways of water management in The Netherlands are shown.

Flood Aware
In spite of all the repaired and strengthened dikes and the completion of the Deltaworks, the chance of flooding is still present today. To make people aware of this, the exposition Flood Aware has been installed in caisson 3. Whoever wants to know what to do during a flood gets great advice. The Kenniscentrum Overstromingen (centre of knowledge on flooding) – part of Flood Aware – provides all the information.

A simulation programme in 3D shows the effect of a broken dike in Zeeland. Visitors can now also work the Deltaviewer themselves. An interactive computer programme visualizes the struggle of The Netherlands with water in the past, present and future.
Visitors can experience how the fresh water of the big rivers can be distributed and how those choices affect water safety. Especially for the younger visitors, there is the Virtual Reality experience which allows you to experience what it is like when your house floods and what you should do when that happens.

The battle is never ending (Caisson 4)

In The Netherlands, we are never done with water management. The choices that are made right now in the Delta area will affect the (distant) future. That makes water management both intriguing and exciting.

Water awareness is what matters in caisson 4. In the large ‘sandbox’, visitors can change water currents in a virtual landscape themselves through the use of augmented reality techniques and discover how it influences the landscape.
Visitors are also invited to share a written note with their thoughts or dreams by attaching it to a dedicated wall.

Primal force
The untameable primal force of water is shown in caisson 4 in a 7 minute long film, projected onto a curved screen of 18 by 3.5 meters. Also in caisson 4, the extraordinary story of the men of Colijnsplaat and their fight against the water in 1953 is told.

Museum shop
Near the exit of the Watersnoodmuseum, visitors can find the museum shop at the end of caisson 4. Books – including children’s books – about the Flood of ’53 take up an important part of the shop, but visitors can also find historical maps, special stamps, DVD’s and educational materials. Gift vouchers are available as well.

Temporary expositions
The museum contains, next to its fixed collection about the Flood of 1953, a number of temporary expositions as well.

The museum