Opbouw Waterbouwkundig Laboratorium Bestuursgebouw in opbouw

Flanders Hydraulics Research was founded as part of the Antwerp Maritime Services. The original objective was to gain better insight into the impact of tidal currents and dredging works in the navigation channels of the Scheldt. At a later stage the research was extended to other rivers and hydraulic constructions.


Transformation into a seperate research department

Flanders Hydraulics Research became a seperate research department, in addition to the Antwerp Marine Services, under the Ministry of Public Works and the Waterways and Marine Affairs Administration. Flanders Hydraulics Research was instructed to conduct hydraulic research with lifelike scale models. This research was done for the government, parastatal institutions and private companies. Another task of FHR was to centralize research regarding water construction and waterways.

1958 and 1971

New experimental halls

The Laboratory was expanded with new test halls to accommodate large scale models of the Westerschelde (1958) and the estuary of the Congo River. In 1971 a large model of the Belgian coast was built (design the port of  Zeebrugge).


Split of the Laboratory

The Laboratory was divided into a Flemish and Walloon institution. The latter being primarly active in the study of dams and sluices.


Establishment of the research group Nautical Studies

A  section Nautical Studies was founded. The research focused on the maneuverability of ships. A simulator (1988) and towing tank (1992) were  available.

Early years of the towing tank


Integration in the Ministry of the Flemish Community – Hydrological Research Services

Due to the regionalization Flanders Hydraulics Research was transferred to the Ministry of the Flemish Community. Together with the Hydrological Research Services it was a section of the Waterways and Marine Affairs Administration.


Full integration

Full integration whereby the Hydrological Research Services moved to the buildings of Flanders Hydraulics Research. This resulted in 2001 in the official establishment of the Hydrological Information Center. This Center (HIC) took over the tasks of the Hydrological Research Services. It extends the operation with modern resources which are currently available.


2nd simulator

An ongoing demand for research and simulator training necessitated the building of a second, modern simulator to increase the capacity and reliability.

Cell Hydrometry-Scheldt

The cell Hydrometry-Scheldt is part of Flanders Hydraulics Research. This cell is responsible for measurements and for the interpretation of physical parameters re. tide, flow, current of the Scheldt Basin. It also provides flood warning services.


Reorganization Better Administrative Policy

After the reorganization in the context of Better Administrative Policy,
Flanders Hydraulics Research was transferred to the Technical Support Services of the Department of Mobility and Public Works.


Sedimentology laboratory

The sedimentology laboratory officially opened its doors.

Sedimentology lab