A Dune Disguised as a Parking Lot

When the seaside town of Katwijk wanted to solve its parking problem, but also beef up their coastal protection without spoiling the view, they came up with a unique idea: integrate a parking garage in a dune.

Underground parking garage in the seaside town of Katwijk

Underground parking garage in the seaside town of Katwijk

The Dutch village had a small eight-meter-tall dune to protect it from the sea. However, according to national coastal defense norms this was not sufficient. The most logical solution was to increase the height of the dune. The community was against that idea, afraid that this huge “pile of sand” would block their ocean view. Additionally, Katwijk had a parking problem that they wanted to solve too.

The “Kustwerk Katwijk” project is the result of a compromise. Instead of building a higher dune, the authorities extended the dune into the sea. The builders used the dike-in-dune principle, wherein a concrete dike is dug into the dune and the new subterranean parking garage placed right next to it. Finally, the whole structure was covered with sand creating the dune.

The garage is 500-meter-long and has 663 parking spots. The underground structure and the two entrances blend in with the surrounding scenery.

The “Kustwerk Katwijk” project is a collaboration of the Municipality of Katwijk, Province of South-Holland, Rijnland Water Authority and Rijkswaterstaat.

World acclaim

Katwijk’s dune-dike-garage project has not gone unnoticed. In 2017 it won the Architectural Achievement award from the International Parking Institute. “Kunstwerk Katwijk” also won other prestigious prizes: BNA Best Building in the Netherlands 2016, Falco award 2015, Rijnland Architecture award 2015, Prix d’Excellence 2016, WAN Infrastructure Prize 2016, German Design Award 2017, and it was also nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award 2017.


As experts in coastal protection, the Netherlands is home to the world’s leading engineering firms in the field of land reclamation, dredging and coastal construction.