The COB focuses on subterranean construction on Dutch soil, but problems and solutions become more and more international. We therefore actively seek collaboration with international (European) partners to join forces and learn from each other. This page provides information on our organisation and the research projects and activities that continue beyond the Dutch border.

About the COB

The Centre for Underground Construction (COB) is a network organisation, a foundation with more than a hundred participants, all of whom are involved in underground construction and the use of underground space. The network consists of consulting engineers, construction companies, governments and knowledge institutions. The philosophy of the COB is that the use of underground space creates value. The COB collects, develops and provides access to knowledge about the underground use of space. The COB initiates and supervises projects that contribute to solving shared underground problems. The acquired knowledge is accessible to everyone in publications, presentations, training courses, on the website and in the magazine De Onderbouwing.

International activities

Beyond a tunnel vision 2024

Next year the Beyond a tunnel vision conference returns! Tunnels play a vital role in infrastructure and many of them need major renovations. How can they be renovated in a clever way? To which extend can they be updated with minor impact on traffic? How can renovation be used to diminish energy consumption and environmental impact of a tunnel? In what way can digitalisation processes contribute to an efficient renovation? These type of questions will be addressed at the European conference Beyond a tunnel vision.

See you in Ireland!
This third edition of Beyond a tunnel vision is organised at the same time and place as the Transport Research Arena: the largest European research and technology event on transport and mobility. By joining forces, tunnel experts get the chance to connect not only with fellow professionals but also with policy-makers, researchers and industry epresentatives. Beyond a tunnel vision 2024 will focus on bringing policy-makers, industry and knowledge partners together to build a solid base for future proof tunnels.

>> Download folder (pdf, 4 MB)
>> Visit website

Online lecture about energy storage and accelerating the energy transition

Rijkswaterstaat (department Water, Traffic and Environment) invites you to participate in the online lecture about energy storage and accelerating the energy transition, organised by CEDR. One of the main reasons for conducting this research now is the implementation of the major renovation project for 7 tunnels in the Netherlands. For this project, several questions had to be answered before making the right decisions for the power supply for the coming decades. This lecture will take place on Tuesday 9 May from 11:00-12:00h CEST (UTC/GMT +2) via MS Teams. If you have any questions about this lecture, please contact Rinus van Hoogenhuizen via  
>> Download presentation Applications on energy storage in tunnels (pdf, 5 MB)

>> Read more

Working visit Vienna tunnel solutions

At the invitation of ASFiNAG, a European delegation of tunnel organizations visited a tunnel project in Vienna on 6 and 7 December 2022. This working visit was initiated by the COB. This project, a road route and the tunnels within, is made completely self-sufficient by means of solar panels. The surplus of energy that’s produced is transported via its own medium voltage cable to high-quality batteries from the German DHYBRID, where it’s stored. The batteries are placed inside or outside the tunnels, depending on the available space. This storage allows a power failure of approximately ten hours to be bridged and no other emergency power supplies are required.
>> Agenda
>> Background information
>> Presentation Sustainability in Sund & Belt (pdf, 6MB)
>> Presentation BASt research profile topic ‘Energy efficient road transport’ (pdf, 4MB) 
>> Report of the working visit in English (pdf, 173KB) 
>> Report of the working visit in Dutch (pdf, 183KB)

Serious gaming at TRA Lisbon on November 16th, 2022

At the stand of the Conference European Directors of Roads (CEDR) on the Transport Research Arena 2023, from November 14 to 17, 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal, a delegation of the COB presented the products of the European tunnel program translated or developed in English. Find these products in the COB knowledge base.
>> Learn more about TRA 

European workshop on September 6th, 2022

While the European tunnel community was in Copenhagen, Denmark to visit the World Tunnel Congress 2022, the COB network initiated the workshop ‘Monitoring and data collection of immersed tunnels’ in the same city. The workshop was held at the Danish Road Directorate (DRD). During this workshop, we explored how to transform the monitoring strategy which was developed for older tunnels in The Netherlands, into knowledge useable for newly built or not yet built tunnels such as the Fehmarnbelt tunnel.
>> Learn more about this workshop
>> Workshop report (pdf,183 KB)

(Photo’s: COB)

European workshop June 25th, 2020

Experience shows that tunnel operators across Europe have similar civil and safety issues. By working together in a structured network (of networks), redundant research can be avoided and leverage can be achieved by aligning individual research budgets. In an online European workshop, we discussed the concept of this collaboration as we intend to design it in 2020 and beyond.

Visit Oresund and Fehmarnbelt March 17th 2020

A visit to the Oresund tunnel was planned for 17 March 2020. Due to a travel ban (Covid-19), this trip could unfortunately not take place and the meeting took place online. Collaboration is of great importance for both organizations. The sequel will be picked up within the CEDR partnership. The Øresund Tunnel forms part of the fixed link between Zeeland in Denmark and Scania in Sweden. The 16km long tunnel, island, and bridge link consists of a four-lane motorway and a dual-track high-speed rail line between Kastrup near Copenhagen and Lernacken near Malmö.
>> Download the presentation

Participate with your own European tunnel

Bring your own tunnel and get a grip on your scope!

Many European tunnels need significant renovations. Because of the sheer volume and complexity of the work, issues need to be addressed on a European scale. This is done by the COB concept Bring your own tunnel. This concept focuses on a peer-to-peer network of tunnel owners and experts to share knowledge and practical experiences. The goal is to have a safe community in which problems and solutions are discussed. The network is rooted in actual practices from current and future field operations. In order to gather as much information as possible and to be as well prepared as possible for the future, it is important that the network grows. You can also contribute to this network with your own European tunnel project.
>> Read more about Bring your own tunnel 

Long-term vision tunnels

The COB tunnel programme is the result of a two-year study into the future of tunnels. The research projects that are currently being carried out by the COB network within this programme can also be valuable for tunnel projects in other countries. The position of tunnels in their environment and network is changing, the sustainability issue is coming to the fore and there are increasingly higher demands on the reliability and availability of tunnels throughout their entire life cycle. In 2016 the COB network developed a long-term vision on tunnels as a guideline for clients and contractors. In the period from January to September 2017 the COB network, together with external experts, translated that vision on tunnels into concrete goals and an integrated working Tunnel programme.

>> Download the long-term vision on tunnels in the Netherlands (pdf, 660KB)
>> Download the tunnel programme (pdf, 1.5 MB)
>> Download paper ‘The tunnel program of the Netherlands – the second year of less hindrance and more value’ (pdf, 345 KB)
>> Download the action plan for the civil engineering development line towards 2030 (pdf, 1 MB) 

Beyond a tunnel vision 2018 and 2020

Beyond a tunnel vision is an international conference on tunnel renovation, focused on the joint challenges in the infrastructure network of Europe. The first edition took place in Brussels, Belgium on November 27th, 2018. An immediate major response was noted: 350 people attended the conference. Participants came not only from Belgium and The Netherlands but also from France, the UK, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic and Luxemburg. The second edition of the conference on November 27th 2020 was fully digital due to the Covid pandemic. The online programme started with a total of 1011 registrations.
>> Read the congress report of 2018 (pdf, 335 KB)
>> See all subsessions of 2018
>> View recordings sessions 2020

Past international activities

For earlier international activities by the COB network, visit the archive.
>> To the archive