SandBox for the Waal River opened for the public

Published: 6 July 2018

As part of 'Nijmegen European Green Capital 2018', His Royal Highness Willem-Alexander, together with students from the eco-schools, visited the SandBox display. This is an innovation from Deltares that uses kinetic projections of water on sand to show the impact of an intervention on a river or coastal area.

A crowdfunding campaign made it possible for the natural history museum De Bastei in Nijmegen to acquire a SandBox model of the Waal for its collection. Modelling with the SandBox gives you the opportunity to see for yourself everything involved in preventing floods in the Waal catchment. You can see how the water level in the river changes on a screen above the model. By simulating the ‘room for the river’ interventions in the area, for example, you can see the effects with your own eyes. Researcher Jurjen de Jong; ‘Obviously, it’s fascinating for young and old to work on the Waal themselves using sand and to see the impact immediately. It’s wonderful that we have been able to team up with the Bastei to show this to the public.’

HRH Willem Alexander at SandBox display De Bastei, Nijmegen (photograph Marscha van Druuten)

How the SandBox is used by researchers

The projections on the sand are linked to a Delft3D FM hydrodynamic model that can produce forecasts of water levels and currents. All man-made changes in coasts and rivers can be simulated by moving the sand around and letting the model do the calculations.

This can be done in ports, for nourishment operations such as the Sand Motor or with tidal flows in the Wadden Sea. The main benefit is that the impacts are immediately apparent to non-researchers.

SandBox in the Bastei

The unique set-up in the Bastei and can be seen daily between 10.00 and 17.00. You can find more information on the website: