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Amsterdam Schiphol Airport: Effective stormwater management

Products | April 28, 2021 | By:

Changing climate conditions demanded a comprehensive project that protects Amsterdam’s airport from stormwater.

The effects of climate change are noticeable on a global level. More extreme weather conditions require adaptations that issue a special challenge to high-risk construction and critical infrastructure components. 

TenCate Geosynthetics joined forces with the Hydraulic Engineering Company, Syntraal and other local companies to develop and provide sophisticated climate-adaptive stormwater management solutions, called “Aquabase.” In the framework of a pilot project for Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, the partners installed this solution, which has successfully proven its reliability and durability. 

Comprehensive requirements

Heavy stormwaters involve large amounts of rain within a short period of time. The high rain volume makes it difficult for water to infiltrate into the subsoil. Especially on hardened areas, such as airfields, the excess sewage water needs to be reliably transported away from critical construction. 

Due to the increasing intensity of stormwaters, Schiphol Airport required a comprehensive stormwater solution to manage water in the airfield’s taxi and roadside areas. As the airfield was built on clay, it was not possible for water to infiltrate the soil. Therefore, the airfield’s foundation had to be changed from a dense and hardened layer to a permeable but stable basis with open spaces to store and remove water.  

Challenging project, joint forces

To meet the comprehensive requirements of Schiphol Airport, TenCate Geosynthetics implemented a total stormwater management solution in cooperation with established partners. 

Based on TenCate Accorder, a sophisticated solution for road stabilization, the project team installed a total Aquabase system, ensuring the successful interplay of various products and components. 

As the soil properties did not allow for water to infiltrate the subsoil, the contractor installed water collectors in the taxi areas’ foundation and a liner construction built with TenCate Nicolon leading to a separate sewage system. To continuously measure and track the system’s efficiency, the team placed numerous sensors in, above and below.  

Open spaces carrying airplanes

In addition to dealing with critical high-risk construction, this project presented the team with another special challenge: Constructing a stabilized and reinforced foundation that combines space for water storage with the capacity to carry the heavy load of airplanes. 

The project team mastered the task and turned more than 35% of the airfield foundation into open spaces for water collection while ensuring the construction is all set for long-term, heavy-duty operations. 


After more than one and half years in operation, the installed total stormwater management system still reliably keeps the airport’s taxi and roadside areas free from excess water.  

This article originally appeared on the TenCate Geosynthetics Europe blog,

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