Inland and Urban Waterways Dredging (often referred to as "small scale dredging")
Capital and Maintenance Dredging (large scale dredging)
Before 1850 dredging and dredge contracting was based purely on handcraft.It was an one-man business and mostly carried out by hand.
Not much equipment was available and the tools were very simple; spades, wheelbarrows, occasionally horse and cart, a hand drag and some wooden barges.
Mud mill, around 1600 (from 'van Baggermolen tot Sleepzuiger')
However, as one can imagine this equipment presented problems and therefore many looked for other and better equipment.
In the meantime and throughout the centuries the Dutch contractors gained a lot of skill (from father to son) in hydraulic engineering because of the ongoing struggle against the water in the lower delta areas of the big rivers and ,of course against the sea.
The steam engine was invented and soon some steam bucket dredgers were constructed.
In the beginning they proved to be inadequate for the Dutch soil. Only after a good bucket chain was designed many steam dredgers were built and put into action.
Steam powered bucket chain dredger, around 1875.
The dredging industry now became an important factor for the Dutch economy. Dredging contractors had an inventive mind and continuously improved and innovatedtheir equipment and came up with newly developed machines, like the hopper dump barge.
Round 1870 the dredging industry consolidated into larger companies as capital was needed for the mechanised industry. The big stimulant for the dredging industry came when the Dutch Prime Minister in 1862 said that Dutch harbours had to be made accessable for the biggest seagoing vessels.
The removal of big quantities of ground and soil led to the development of very powerfull suction dredgers.
This dredger was employed to 'dig' the canal from the North Sea to the port of Amsterdam.
Wooden suction dredger at the entrance of the canal to
the port of Amsterdam, 1876
The Dutch dredging contractors gained much experience and were known worldwide. They used their experience and obtained contracts abroad.
Together with the development of the dredging technology Consulting Agencies were required to develop, design and contract the dredging companies. The consultants put their knowledge at the disposal of the big clients, like governments and big ports and represented them when the projects were executed.
In the meantime more complex projects were exceuted in the Netherlands, like the big enclosure dike, closing the 'Zuiderzee" from the North Sea and stopping centuries of flooding and innundations in the villages and towns on the border of the Zuiderzee. In the new 'IJssellake' big areas were then reclaimed. Dutch Dredging Contractors and Dutch Consultants Engineers Ports and Dredging are known everywhere and worldwide.
ALL DREDGE HOLLAND is proud to be part of this history.