The Riverlab

The Riverlab

The RiverLab is an existing platform that aims at connecting river researchers and practitioners in the Netherlands and abroad. By connecting river researchers, one aims at creating a community and facilitating the use of open software and sharing river schematizations. The development of the platform is commissioned by RWS and currently managed by Deltares. The RiverLab is based on the motto: Dare-to-share. Together we can enhance our knowledge and experience and via the RiverLab we can build on previous work instead of reinventing the wheel. It also makes it easier to combine knowledge of different fields and so come to new insights and ideas.

Although the platform exists, it is challenging to attract people to it. This can be ascribed to the fact that either people do not know about the existence of the platform or do not see the benefit yet. Also, the library with river models still needs expansion, but for that we need people to contribute. The intention is to increase visibility, convince people of the benefits and encourage the use of the platform.
From our point of view, the people most interested in such a platform may be PhD and MSc students. In both cases, but specially in the case of MSc students, the role of the supervisor is crucial in setting the research path and methodology to be followed. In this sense, it is a basic that supervisors see the benefit of their students being part and contributing to the RiverLab. For this reason, the aim is to first convince the supervisors of the fact that it is in their interest that their students form part of the community. An event where several supervisors are present are the NCR-days. During these days supervisors and other potential members of the community will be informed so that they acknowledge the benefits and convince their students to embed their research within the RiverLab. At the same time, the supervisors will provide ideas on how to improve the platform such that it is attractive to their students. Afterwards the universities and engineering companies will be contacted to arrange a visit where the RiverLab can be further discussed and promoted. The expected outcome is a list of potential users that are currently interested in forming part of the RiverLab and the commitment from the supervisors to direct future students to the RiverLab.

Later, the potential users will be contacted to organize a first session. The main objective of this session will be to understand the user’s needs. The outcome will be a summary of the meeting with the user’s wishes and a plan to satisfy their needs. It is foreseen that one of the needs of users is to obtain help when using Delft3D FM. The idea of the RiverLab is that the community provides this help. Nevertheless, at least at the start, it is the responsibility of Deltares (function of the schakelaar) that the members find their answers replied.Apart from specific questions, it is foreseen that users may be interested in general knowledge on river modelling. For this reason, sessions will be organized that reinforce the community sense and are a platform for experts to present specific topics or cases…

Flooding along the Nieuwe Maas (Picture by Tineke Dijkstra )


The tasks we foresee for the ‘schakelaar’ are the organization of meetings with supervisors and students and, in general, keeping the community alive. This last task involves, amongst others, that questions should be swiftly answered.

  • Expanding the community
    • Poster presentation at NCR-days
    • 2 community sessions (e.g. ‘Bring-Your-Own-Model’)
    • Visit the potential users at Universities and Engineering companies.
  • Keeping the platform up to date
    • (Help) adding models
    • Participate in the forum
    • Improve the platform based on the feedback from the users
  • Give support in research
    • help in modelling
    • solving bugs


The website can be found here (

A screenshot from the RiverLab website

Related organisations

People involved from Deltares

Victor Chavarrias

People involved from RWS and DGRW

dr. Ralph Schielen

Matthijs Boersema

Dirk-Sytze Kootstra

Last modified: 02/05/2023