Pidpa, a Flemish integrated water company, sensitizes people about water, not only focusing on tap water but the entire circle of water. By opening Hidrodoe in 2003, they reach a broad spectrum of society. Hidrodoe is the interactive experience center about water, located in Herentals.
Hidrodoe’s main goal is to educate visitors about the value of water. This ranges from water in nature and landscape, history, professional use to chemistry and physics of water. The science center introduces all ages to water in a playful and interactive way by appealing to their senses. The exhibition stimulates lifelong learning for everyone.
A second part of the mission is to promote drinking tap water and to give visitors a warm welcome in a sustainable way. Hidrodoe’s role is to scale up public engagement and build positive change.
Hidrodoe’s mission is realized through its innovative world class exhibition and engaging guest experiences. Hidrodoe exposes guests of all ages to fun experiments that spark curiosity and bring science to life.
Banquet of play and discovery
At Hidrodoe, active learning is key. Through more than 150 interactive experiments, visitors learn about water in a playful way. Shoot a hydrogen rocket sky high, experiment with a hydroelectric power station, discover how current flows. Ride a bicycle to boil water, play soccer with the power of water or step into a giant bubble. Sit on an ancient Roman toilet, create a huge whirlpool or lift a car with hydraulic power, stand under an umbrella of water and so much more. The exhibition offers an irresistible banquet of exciting play and discovery.
Interactive exhibition spaces
Hidrodoe consists of a unique sequence of interactive exhibition spaces, shows and discovery worlds. The exhibition uses a linear routing with free-flow interactive spaces. In the Blue Water Garden, the outdoor water garden, a variety of interactive exhibits offer great fun and it is directly linked to the indoor exhibition. The 4-D movie explains the production of tap water.
Hidrodoe has been working on a sustainable policy for several years. Not only in the exhibition, but also in the building itself, the café, the environment, the operations, etc. To name a few sustainable examples: anhydrous urinals, the toilets are flushed with rainwater, sensors operate the toilets and taps, solar panels, solar control film on the windows, recycling of the water in the exhibition, tapping point for tap water and fair trade, bio and regional products in the café, an insect hotel, beehives…
In addition, Hidrodoe has been awarded the Green Key for 10 years in a row. An international quality mark for environmentally friendly tourism companies. At Hidrodoe, inclusion is also very important. A few of the actions: the center is completely wheelchair accessible, we have resources for people with autism such as a visual step-by-step plan, hearing protection… We offer an extra discount for underprivileged target groups together with ‘Iedereen Verdient Vakantie’.
Circular water and energy project
In Hidrodoe we want to close the water and energy cycle as much as possible and reduce the use of fossil fuels to an absolute minimum. We inspire our visitors, but also challenge ourselves, on how to use energy and water wisely and sustainably.
With a water scan/audit, we mapped out the water consumption, the water flows and the water sources. We focus on advanced watersaving techniques, whereby our ambition is to reduce the consumption of tap water in our visitor center by 50%. An installation to upgrade the sanitary waste water to flush water for the toilets will be one of our first steps. This way, we can use the rainwater for drip infiltration in the garden, for infiltration via a large basin (to replenish the groundwater table) or in dry summer months for irrigation by farmers in the area. The installation is placed on the drain of the anhydrous urinals that recovers struvite (phosphate) from the urine stream. Struvite is a valuable raw material that can be used in agriculture. In addition, we also invest in innovative techniques that remove phosphorus from other sanitary waste water. For this we use IOCS granules (iron oxide coated sands), a residual product from the nearby water production center. Closing material and water cycles are central to the techniques we use.
Together with an energy expert, we identify the best energy–saving measures to reduce our energy consumption and use alternative energy sources. A hydrothermal heat pump will be installed. The heat energy is obtained from a drinking water storage (two (2) giant cellars of 1000 m³ each) at the water production center nearby. The drinking water has a constant temperature of +/- 12 °C. Hidrodoe will use this energy to heat and cool the building.
• Best Family Friendly Tourist Product – Visit Flanders/Toerisme Vlaanderen – 2017
• Belgian Energy and Environment Award – category ‘Sustainable Education’ – 2018
• Badges Award Trendhuis – informal learning – nominated/shortlisted –2019
• SDG Voice Belgium – FIDO – 2019
• Sustainable Family Awards – category ‘Excursion/activity’ – second place – 2021
• Green Key label – 10 years in a row