Sandbox Model on Display in Nijmegen

As part of ‘Nijmegen European Green Capital 2018’, His Royal Highness Willem-Alexander, together with students from the eco-schools, visited the Sandbox display – 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.

Photo by Marscha van Druuten

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 one the opportunity to see for itself everything involved in preventing floods in the Waal catchment.

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.

The projections on the sand are linked to a 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.