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New sea lock

A new large sea lock is being constructed at the entrance of the North Sea Canal at IJmuiden that will provide access to the Amsterdam port region.

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The largest sea lock in the world

The new lock will be 500 metres long, 70 metres wide and 18 metres deep, making it the world’s largest sea lock. Construction began in January 2016 and the new lock will be available for shipping early 2022. From then on, Port of Amsterdam will be accessible 24 hours a day.

Latest updates

  • News item 22-04-2021
    All the lock gates have been put into position
    In March 2021, the last two lock gates on the canal side were successfully installed. The whole operation lasted four days. Edgar Breedveld and Victor Arnolds were involved in this milestone achievement. They directed the positioning process and ensured a good outcome. Read more
  • News item 22-04-2021
    Working together to train lock and VTS operators
    Zeesluis IJmuiden will soon be ready for use. But first, staff will have to master the ins and outs of operating the lock. Mia Dröge is Strategic Advisor to the Harbour Master's Division of Port of Amsterdam. Together with a team, she will ensure that the lock can be operated safely. Read more
  • News item 22-04-2021
    Three questions to Bart and Henk about the bottom protection system for Zeesluis IJmuiden
    A larger lock means bigger ships and more salt water. The locking process creates large volumes of fresh or salt water flowing into or out of the lock and water turbulence may scour out holes near the inner and outer lock heads, undermining them. Read more
  • News item 22-04-2021
    Diving operations at Zeesluis IJmuiden
    There are also divers at work for the construction of Zeesluis IJmuiden (the new sea lock). They are busy with underwater engineering and construction activities. Max Schellenbach and Jan-Pieter Steunebrink of Boskalis are responsible for the Boskalis diving department and the execution of the work for OpenIJ. They told us about the work of their divers. Read more
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How large is the new lock?

A new sea lock. The biggest in the world. How big is that anyway? Take a look at the video and the fact sheet for all the information.

Download fact sheet (pdf)

What ships can pass through?

What ships can through the new sea lock? Take a look at the animation and check the dimensions of the ships below.

Infographic vessel dimensions (pdf)

Why a new sea lock?

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  • The North Lock will reach the end of its technical service life in 2029 and has become too small for today’s ever-larger seagoing vessels.
  • The New Sea Lock is tide-independent and can be used 24/7.
  • A new large sea lock allows new-generation larger vessels to pass through the North Sea Canal smoothly and safely.
  • With a larger lock, the port has the possibility to grow from today’s 90 million tons to 125 million tons of goods handled per year.



Who is carrying out the work?

Commissioned by Rijkswaterstaat (Dutch Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management), the new sea lock in IJmuiden will be built by the OpenIJ consortium of contractors during the next few years.

The project is a collaborative venture of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, the Province of North Holland, the Municipality of Amsterdam, the Port of Amsterdam, and the Municipality of Velsen. The project is co-financed by the European Union’s TEN-T programme.

When will the new sea lock be completed?

The completion of the new sea lock for shipping is scheduled for the early 2022. The first ships may probably start to pass through the new sea lock during the operational test phase.

  • 2020-2021: Start testing of the new sea lock
  • Begin 2022: The new sea lock will be put into operational service

Drone films of the construction

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The progress of the construction of the new lock can be followed by means of new drone pictures from the air made every three months. This is the update of the drone recordings of the first quarter of 2021.

  • The Voorhavendam (the outer approach wall): the separation of the approach channels to the IJmuiden Middle Lock and the ‘Zeesluis IJmuiden’ (the new lock).
  • The new Buitentoeleidingskanaal: the outer approach channel to the new sea lock is being dredged to its required depth.
  • The quay at the Zuidersluiseiland (South Lock island): the construction of a new quay at this location includes a car landing place.
  • The guard wall and dividing wall as part of the flood defence.
  • The flood defence north and the flood defence south where the public road and the cycle path will be built.
  • The installation of the spare lock gate in the special dry dock of gate chamber.
  • The installation of the outer lock gate in the outer head.
  • The asphalting of the road on the flood defence north.
  • The installation of protection material to the bed of the canal and the bottom of the lock at both entrances of the Zeesluis IJmuiden.
Veel gestelde vragen

Construction jargon

Reports on the construction of the New Sea Lock often use a number of technical terms. But what exactly is a sheet pile wall and what is a combi wall? What is meant by the diaphragm method and the caisson method? What do these things look like? We have listed the most used terms in a glossary with explanations and visual material.

Go to glossary

Time-lapse of the construction

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This is a time-lapse of the activities from July to September 2020. The following activities can be seen:

  • Dredging of the lock chamber to a level of 18 metres below NAP
  • Removal of sand through floating pipelines to the depot
  • Sand from the lock chamber is being sprayed into the outer approach channel to the North Lock
  • Lock gate of the outer head is put in place with extreme precision
  • The lock gate of the outer head is being tested
  • Work on the flood barrier

Scheduled activities and obstructions

For the construction of the new sea lock work and obstructions are planned. There are also planned activities and closures in connection with regular maintenance of the IJmuiden North Lock and Middle Lock.


Activities and measures in relation to the construction of the IJmuiden New Sea Lock

Period Activities

Activities and measures in relation to maintenance

Period Activities
December 15 2020, 7.00 - 15.00h Closure of the IJmuiden North Lock due to planned maintenance

View all announcements

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For neighbouring residents

The Dutch Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management regularly holds consultations with residents, together with OpenIJ about the new sea lock. Regularly a newsletter is being issued to which you can subscribe.

Do you have questions or complaints on the construction work? Please contact the Dutch Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat) via 0800 - 8002. For more information, see the website of Rijkswaterstaat.

For businesses in the port

Port of Amsterdam regularly consults with the ORAM Amsterdam Region Business Association, agents, port service providers and customers on the effects of the construction on shipping. Also subscribe to our newsletter for information about the construction of the sea lock

Are you interested in the commercial opportunities for your business after the new sea lock has been taken into use? Or do you have questions about the new possibilities in logistics and cargo flows after 2022? Please contact us.

Direct contact with our expert

Jordy Husslage
Jordy Husslage

Head Operations

+31 20 523 47 54