Project description

The Princess Beatrix Lock complex in the Dutch municipality of Nieuwegein is the largest monumental inland shipping lock in the Netherlands. It is the shipping connection between the river Lek and the Amsterdam-Rhine canal.

In 2012, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment decided to construct a third lock chamber on the east side of the lock to help manage the increased traffic in the Lek Canal and the increased scale of inland shipping. It was inaugurated on 6 February 2019.

The Lek Canal was widened at the same time to create additional berths. The construction of the extra chamber removed a bottleneck in the waterway between Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Antwerp.

Lock Simulator

The Sas van Vreeswijk contractor consortium commissioned a lock simulator for the third chamber of the Princess Beatrix Lock. The assignment was completed in collaboration with Agidens. The simulator can be operated from a SCADA software environment and displays a Virtual Reality (VR) environment containing all CCTV camera set-ups around the chamber. SCADA is an abbreviation for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. It is used to collect, transmit, process, and visualise measurement and control signals from various machines in large, complex industrial systems, such as a lock in our example. A SCADA system is a computer loaded with the SCADA software. This software is linked to the VR environment. This allowed the contractor consortium to simulate the lock operation at an early stage in the assignment. This meant that it could coordinate with stakeholders (e.g. VR glasses were used so the skippers and lock operators could experience the lock) as well as virtually test the software before it was deployed in the actual environment. This resulted in a large reduction of failure costs.

The VR environment was built using real design data from Autodesk Civil3D and REVIT, among others, and processed within the UNITY gaming platform.

Education, Training, and Exercise

Once the software was operational and approved, all lock operators were trained virtually. The actual operational SCADA environment linked to the VR model was deployed to the operations desk for the purposes of Education, Training, and Practice.

Condition Measurement System

After the completion of the lock simulator, the environment was also linked to the Condition Measurement System (CMS) of the Sas van Vreeswijk contractor consortium. Among other things, the CMS collects sensor data about the condition of important elements that can influence the operation of the lock. These measurements determine the maintenance condition of the installations in accordance with NEN 2767. We also use this measurement data to simulate the operation of the lock. This creates tremendous added value throughout the life cycle.

Project video


Start :  2015
End : 2019




  • Sas van Vreeswijk
  • BESIX, Heijmans
  • Jan de Nul, Rebel
  • TDP


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