International activities

Although the COB focusses on subterranean construction in Dutch soil, some of our projects are also interesting for other countries. We have had several international visitors (China, Singapore, Belgium…) and we are keen to participate in events as the World Tunnel Congress. On this page you will find some general information about the COB and more details about our international projects.


The COB is a network organisation, a foundation with more than sixty affiliates, all involved in subterranean construction and the use of subterranean space. The network includes consulting engineers, construction companies, public authorities and knowledge institutions.


The COB’s philosophy is that the use of subterranean space provides an essential contribution to making the Netherlands attractive, sustainable and a pleasant place to live. Subterranean construction creates value. The COB therefore wants to create a positive development climate for the use of subterranean space, so that the exploitation of the underground becomes a logical part of spatial planning. The costs of subterranean construction are often off-putting, but there are great returns to be achieved in terms of sustainability, space and quality enhancement.

The square in front of Rotterdam Central Station is an enjoyable environment due to the underground parkings (car and bicycles) and tunnels (car and subway).

What and how

The COB collects, develops and provides access to knowledge about the subterranean use of space. This is done by constantly surveying what issues are current within the network and within Dutch society. The COB then initiates and supervises projects which help to solve the problem which has jointly been identified. The broad composition of working groups means that all relevant aspects of a problem are considered. The knowledge that is acquired belongs to everyone and can be used by everyone. The participants within the COB are not competitors, but work together on a solution. The result is shared across the network, by recording it in publications and presenting it at meetings, within training courses, on the website and in the magazine De Onderbouwing. However, participation itself is already one of the most powerful ways of developing and embedding knowledge.

At the World Tunnel Congress 2018 in Dubai

Three research projects of the COB-network were presented at the WTC2018 in Dubai:

  • Tuesday 24th, Sheikh Maktoum A, 2:20-2:40 PM – Karin de Haas, Long-term vision and working program on tunnels in the Netherlands
    >> Download the presentation (pdf, 3.4 MB)
  • Tuesday 24th, Sheikh Maktoum B, 2:40-3:00 PM – Paul Janssen, Working towards a zero-energy tunnel – technical, contractual and process solutions
  • Each conference day from 3 PM you could visit the poster presentation of Hans de Man about the digital tunnel twin

In collaboration with BESIX and KIVI, the COB hosted a small network event at the WTC in Dubai on Tuesday 24th from 5 to 7 PM. At this gathering the guests talked some more about the topics of our presentations: digital tunnel twins, tunnel renovations, energy reduction and long term visions on tunnels.