Infrastructure for infrastructure

How Relined is connecting up North Holland

How do you boost the transportation of goods by water? Well, through prompt operation of the movable bridges and locks known as ‘engineering structures’. This goal is something that the Province of North Holland wants to achieve by centralising operation at a single operating centre.

This problem has been solved by creating a connection with the Dark Fibre fibre optic network of Relined Fiber Networks.

Remote-controlled bridge operation

The Province of North Holland currently manages 44 engineering structures (2023). By using a system of centralised operation, in future it will be possible to arrange for a vessel to pass through these structures as efficiently as possible in a ‘blue wave’, with the ultimate goal being to have ’24/7′ operation.  Thus creating significantly improved traffic flow!

These movable bridges and locks have to be controlled from the Weg- & Waterhuis de Lange Balk road and hydraulic engineering control centre in Heerhugowaard, which is one of the largest operating centres in the Netherlands. This operating centre has the capacity to remotely control more than 80 engineering structures and is connected to Relined’s Dark Fibre Network.

A reliable network is essential


In order to safely operate a movable bridge remotely, you need a reliable network. A fault can cause a lot of costly delays; an error during operation could even pose a risk for the surrounding area.


So careful management of the remote-controlled operation is important. This includes having an always-on stable connection, minimum likelihood of faults, and the option at all times to intervene if something goes wrong. The Dark Fibre network provides the reliable set-up needed.

Control center Heerhugowaard | Noord Holland | Foto (c) Michiel Wijnbergh

Centralised operation: safer, faster, cheaper

In order to achieve centralised operation, the Province looked for a solution for the secure and rapid transmission of data between the operating centre and the bridges and locks. In short, a solution in the form of unlit optical fibre.

Dark Fibre has been used to create a network that the Province can organise and manage itself.  So any scaling up needed is not a problem either.  In addition, real-time monitoring can proactively anticipate connection-related incidents, thus improving reliability and availability.

Relined’s network solutions are reliable, scalable, safe, secure and futureproof. The Dark Fibre network means the Province will not be confronted with any unpleasant surprises.

North Holland lives and works with water


A province where it’s nice to be. Where you can enjoy living, working and relaxing. Where you can get from one place to another quickly and safely. Where something is always going on. That is North Holland. This is what 1,400 committed employees work hard for to achieve every day, as the Province notes on its website.And so does the Board of Management and Implementation. This Board is responsible for the management and maintenance of roads and waterways, soil, greenery and public transportation networks. It builds new roads and waterways and is constantly endeavouring to improve traffic flow.

European tender awarded to Relined Fiber Network!

The Province of North Holland made the construction and management of this network part of a European tender process. Relined won this tender process after an assessment based on the EMVI criteria. Relined was eventually awarded this mandate as the result of its forward-looking tender that also offered good value for money.

As a supplier of Dark Fibre, in 2017 Relined was awarded the mandate to use its own network of fibre optic connections to implement the design that 44 engineering structures would be connected to.

Since then, Relined, working closely with the Province and its partners, has organised the safe and secure construction of a redundant network of 900 kilometres of Dark Fibre, nearly 200 kilometres of which are new connections.

The design

Relined developed a design for the Province that consists of a backbone of various rings that are spread across the Province. This ring structure means the network can continue to function even if a route is temporarily lost because of a cable break or other reason.

It is also easy to adapt the design to meet future needs and wishes. A number of bridges and locks can be ‘exchanged’ between the various rings, with enough leeway being left within the rings for any future expansions. This also means that any location can be disconnected just as easily if necessary.

The implementation

The ring structure means that the network is connected to engineering structures in the Province. There are now dozens of engineering structures in North Holland that are operated from the operating centre, a number that will continue to grow in the coming years.

Relined worked closely with various parties, including contractor BAM, on the implementation. BAM handled the challenging building work for the construction of the network through water and alongside busy traffic flows.

Prinses Amaliabrug | Provincie Noord-Holland

The collaboration

The construction of the network has proceeded successfully, despite the turbulent times. This is thanks to transparent communications and the pragmatic approach taken by all parties involved.

Project manager Gerrie Teunissen describes the collaboration between the parties as a ‘golden triangle’:


‘Thanks to transparent communication with contractor BAM and the involvement of Province of North Holland, we have been able to deliver the entire project on-schedule, despite some complex problems. Both the Province and BAM helped provide creative solutions and implementations at all times. We saw potential problems coming a long way off, so we all worked together to resolve them in time.’

Current status

Relined officially delivered the fibre optic network to the Province in October 2021. The remote operation of the other structures will ‘go live’ in line with the schedules of the Province and its partners. The connection has been completed for all networks: only the on-site operational connection is still needed.

Currently, 13 engineering structures are actively connected to the Centre. This number will increase over the coming years, with some structures being converted to centralised operation during their renovation and revamping work. Relined’s network is ready for this challenge!

As a valued partner of the Province of North Holland, we reduce the burden on this organisation where possible and continue to work on building a futureproof network for the entire Province and its residents.

The end result

A major improvement in efficiency: a single operator can now operate multiple structures, the opening times can be extended and the flow of road and waterway traffic is being improved. In addition, there is little susceptibility to breakdown and a good basis for future expansion.

The Province is also ready for the future, thanks to such options as developing a ‘blue wave’ and achieving operation ’24/7′.

So Relined’s Dark Fibre network means you can be sure that in North Holland you can reach your destination by both road or waterway quickly and safely.

Like to know more about this case or about Dark Fibre in particular? Then just get in touch!