Dr. Wout van Dijk, Geomorphologist/ Physical Geographer

Welcome to my website, where I share my research and other interests from the last few years. My name is Wout van Dijk, and I currently work as an advisor for Rijkswaterstaat Zee en Delta. I previously worked as a consultant at Arcadis Netherlands and spent a decade at the university as a PhD candidate and postdoctoral researcher at Utrecht University and Durham University.

As an advisor at Rijkswaterstaat, I specialize in soil and water management in the North Sea region. My responsibilities encompass a range of critical tasks, including the extraction of sand for coastal defense and infrastructure projects, advising on the Marine Strategy Framework Directive's descriptor 7 Hydrographical changes, providing expertise on Marine Spatial Planning, and analyzing the morphodynamics of the Western Scheldt.

I have been involved in several challenging projects at my previous job at Arcadis, including providing support for the offshore wind farms, conducting environmental studies of side-channels in the Rhine branches, and analyzing silt plume data in the Middle East and the Netherlands. Additionally, I consulted with UN-Habitat Philippines on plastic pollution in rivers as part of their Shelter Program.

During my time at the university, I worked on three major projects, the findings of which can be found here on my website. All of these projects have been published, mostly as open-access articles. These projects include:

Main interests:

I am deeply intrigued by the morphological changes of fluvial and coastal systems over time. My research focuses on the interaction between fluvial processes, such as sediment transport, bank erosion, and floodplain formation, and subsurface stratigraphy. I am particularly interested in studying the impact of the subsurface on groundwater flow and heads. At present, I am investigating the distribution of silt, plastics, and contaminants in coastal environments, as well as the morphological and stratigraphic characteristics of the North Sea.

As part of my last postdoctoral work, I contributed to the Vici proposal of Professor Dr. MG Kleinhans, "Turning the tide: Dynamics of channels and shoals in estuaries with sands and mud". The goal of this project was to deepen our understanding of the natural dynamics and response to human intervention of channels and shoals in river estuaries, and to develop improved forecasting tools. This research focused on analyzing classic bank erosion in river-dominated reaches, shoal margin collapse caused by fluidization and breaching, and salt marsh retreat. My specific objectives included:

During my previous postdoctoral work, I explored the relationship between groundwater depletion and geomorphic and sedimentary settings. This project was part of the Changing Water Cycle program, in collaboration with universities in the UK and India, and was funded by NERC-MoES. My role involved assessing the geomorphic setting and stratigraphy of palaeochannel aquifers in northwestern Indo-Gangetic Plains, and developing a regional-scale understanding of aquifer geometry and connectivity. The results of this research were published in the Journal of Geophysical Research and Journal of Hydrology.

In my PhD, I created the first dynamic meandering river in a laboratory setting and showed that sustained upstream dynamics are essential for its formation. Additionally, I demonstrated the impact of floodplain-channel sediment ratios on river and delta morphology. I combined fieldwork, experiments, and numerical modeling techniques in my PhD research.

I have a broad research interest and am proficient in a range of methodologies, including physical experiments, numerical modeling, and field analysis. My areas of expertise include fluvial geomorphology, remote sensing, sedimentology, physical/numerical modeling, and river morphodynamics.

My research                        

Currently, I work at Rijkswaterstaat as a advisor for the North Sea. Please be free to check my website for my past projects and research findings, I am happy to share my papers and presentations. Most are already Open Access but if needed I can send you a copy as well.  

My PhD-dissertation: Meandering rivers - feedbacks between channel dynamics, floodplain and vegetation can be found here. (2009-2013)

Media attention of my previous work on meandering rivers: A short newsflash was published on the work of our first article in a Dutch magazine (De Ingenieur) and in a Dutch newspaper (NRC weekend). Wietse (2nd author) and I were invited for a interview on the Dutch radio (TROS nieuwsshow) Furthermore, a short message was also published in the EOS (Research Spotlight) as our work got some extra attention in the Editors' Highlight. Later, my supervisor was invited to tell about our research on meandering rivers in the lab on Dutch National television.

About me

Dr. Wout van Dijk,
Advisor at Rijkswaterstaat Zee en Delta

contact info: RWS-ZD

team Netwerkontwikkeling en Visie

Visiting address: 

Lange Kleiweg 34,
2280 GK Rijswijk