nieuwe zeesluis

A name for the new sea lock

In July, the municipality of Velsen and Rijkswaterstaat launched a competition campaign for the naming of the new sea lock at IJmuiden.

Jeroen Verwoort, Alderman of the municipality of Velsen, and Nienke Bagchus, Director of Network Management at Rijkswaterstaat, had made a video in which they called on the Dutch people to send in names for the new sea lock. And with success: The municipality of Velsen received almost 5000 responses! After the submission deadline had passed, the municipality and Rijkswaterstaat started working on a selection of the best names. Jeroen Verwoort explained how this works and when a winner will be chosen.

The alderman is very proud of the fact that the construction of the largest sea lock in the world is taking place in his municipality. Jeroen explained, "We have received a lot of beautiful names. We have also received a number of entries that unfortunately do not meet the conditions. Such as, the 'Irma Lock'. A very nice idea, but regrettably this will not be a good name for the lock. If the lock is to be named after a person, this person must have passed away at least 10 years ago, unless it concerns a member of the royal family."

The selection procedure

Immediately after the closing of the competition a first selection was made. Jeroen said, "The names that did not meet the conditions were filtered out. People who submitted more than one name were also removed from the list. The conditions state that you may only enter once to submit a name. If different persons had submitted identical names, only the person with the first entry would remain on the list."

Almost 5000 entries

The naming committee of the municipality of Velsen will then get to work and choose a top 100 from all the remaining names. After that, the ‘neighbours’, i.e. the people who live in the vicinity of the new sea lock, are allowed to choose a top 5 from these 100 names.

Finally, the Mayor and Aldermen of Velsen will choose the best name for the sea lock from the top 5 this autumn. The winner may be present at the official opening of the sea lock. But first we have to dig through those 5000 entries and see what pretty names have been submitted."

Irma Sluis Lock

A much recurring name was the Irma Sluis Lock, named after the sign language interpreter Irma Sluis ('sluis' is the Dutch word for lock) who played an important role during the press conferences of the Dutch government on the corona crisis.

Unfortunately, that name is not suitable as it does not meet the conditions. Jeroen explained, "If the lock is to be named after a person, this person must have passed away at least 10 years ago.”

The name has to meet several rules and conditions: "The name must be appropriate in an international context. So tongue twisting Dutch consonant combinations such as 'SCH' have to be avoided. The name may not yet have been used for another lock in the Netherlands and, of course, it may not contain any swear words. Of course we get all kinds of names, even less serious ones. That is all part the game and sometimes even funny. The lock will last for the next 100 years, so the name has to be appropriate with that in mind too."