It is 2020. The Netherlands is about to start working on the biggest construction project of all time: a 600-kilometre dyke around the North Sea to protect us from rising sea levels. Based on an oceanographer's actual plan, Nordsjøen Dike depicts a possible future and Veerle van Herk questions our belief in an engineerable world.

In 2020, oceanographer Sjoerd Groeskamp publishes his plan for the "Northern European Enclosure Dam" in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. His plan implies a 600-kilometer-long dike around the North Sea, intended to protect our country from rising sea levels. Although this largest construction project of all time has been meticulously designed and calculated, the plan primarily serves as an attempt by the oceanographer to make us think about the future of this country.

For illustrator Veerle van Herk, the dike symbolizes the controllable world. Technological advancements have enabled us to completely manipulate nature to our advantage. Through human intervention, the earth is warming up, and sea levels are rising faster than ever. The Netherlands must take action to prevent flooding. How far should we go to protect ourselves from the sea?

From this question arises "Nordsjøen Dike." A project that visualizes Sjoerd Groeskamp's plan. What if the Netherlands were to truly begin building this dike? What if the North Sea became a lake? By blending fact with fiction, Nordsjøen Dike questions our human actions in relation to the complex consequences of climate change. Are we considering a genuine plan B, or have we become overly reliant on our ability to control our environment?

"Nordsjøen Dike" started as a graduation project (2020, Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam) and evolved into a short film (2021) and exhibition where illustration, film, and urgent issues regarding the climate crisis converge (2022). The graduation project was nominated for the Bachelor Research Award and the Drempelprijs in 2020.


Scenario and Direction: Veerle van Herk 
Production: Geertje Kil
Director of Photography: Thomas de Boer
Art Direction: Denice Zwiers
Music: Joshua Aaron
Sound Design: Nils Davidse
Graphic Design: Jim Jansen
Color Grading: Tom Lems
Gaffer: Jaap Beyleveld
2nd DOP: Toto Kersten
Director's Assistant: Jochem van Schip
Set Assistant: Eva-Mirre Dam


© Veerle van Herk