‘I actually help build the Netherlands’

Rijkswaterstaat is such a varied organization that you can have a lifelong career there without getting bored, says trainee Willem Cijsouw. Whether it concerns bridges, tunnels, storm surge barriers, ecoducts, motorways or waterways: those who want to contribute to a safe, liveable and accessible Netherlands cannot ignore Rijkswaterstaat.

From your own bubble

Willem Cijsouw is currently working as a trainee at Rijkswaterstaat. Before this, he worked for a year at an engineering firm in non-residential construction, but he wanted to be able to do broader work. His traineeship means, among other things, that he can browse various places within the organization. According to Cijsouw, this is essential: “Because Rijkswaterstaat does so many different things, you do yourself short if you stay in your own bubble. By working in different parts and projects you get a good feeling about the breadth of the organization. ”

Knowledge in house

As a trainee, Cijsouw is part of the technical team of the Blankenburg connection – a new connection between the A20 at Vlaardingen and the A15 at Rozenburg. “I am specifically concerned with the risk management of the Blankenburg connection. This project is large, complex and technically very challenging. We must properly manage the risks associated with building this and that is what I am working on. We do this by checking the quality of the work performed and by having good consultation with the contractor. ”

When Cijsouw became an insider from an outsider, he was positively surprised by the amount of technical knowledge within the organization. His perception was that this mainly lies with the market parties with which Rijkswaterstaat works together. But he also sees a lot of in-house knowledge: “We are now working on two tunnels, with viaducts that must be connected to an existing motorway. Particularly complex matter. There are all of them in our team cracks around who have decades of experience with this. Very educational.”

The Blankenburg connection, a new connection between the A20 at Vlaardingen and the A15 at Rozenburg

The Blankenburg connection, a new connection between the A20 at Vlaardingen and the A15 at Rozenburg

© Rijkswaterstaat

Insight into technology

Cijsouw is pleased that his seasoned colleagues are also open to the new ideas and insights that he brings along as a trainee: “I made a few adjustments to the organization and the data with which we cover risk management. My colleagues actively contributed to this. At first I was apprehensive about being seen as an elephant in the china shop. But that was not the case at all. If you have good ideas, colleagues are open to them. “

Cijsouw first studied architecture at Eindhoven University of Technology and then did a master’s degree in civil engineering in Delft. Although he himself has an academic background, this is not a condition for working at Rijkswaterstaat. He believes it is important that you have insight into technology, but above all that you have an affinity with it. “The work is very substantive, I like that.”

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Do different things for a lifetime

The great thing about working at Rijkswaterstaat is the enormous versatility for Cijsouw. In his current project alone, roads, viaducts, two tunnels and many different types of technology come together. Sustainability is an important aspect in all of this, because projects are built with ecology in mind. Cijsouw: “You can work there all your life and still do different things. And the great thing is that you work on issues that are visible and that matter. It’s great to actually help build the Netherlands. ”

Curious about what it is like to work at Rijkswaterstaat? View all projects and vacancies here.


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