13.9.1841 Leiden/NL - 29.11.1929 s'Gravenhage/NL
Wilhelmus François Leemans graduated as a civil engineer from the Delft Academy in 1863 and then joined the Dutch Waterstaat organization to remain there all through his career. He was transferred first to s'Hertogenbosch to execute sluice works. From 1870 to 1878, Leemans was in Kampen as a river engineer at the IJssel and the Zwarte Rivers. He spent the next ten years in Rotterdam to design and execute the city water courses. In 1892, Leemans was appointed Inspector General of the second class and promoted to the first class in 1898, and in 1900 reached as a Court Inspector the highest Dutch engineering position directing the Waterstaat Corps. He was elected an Honorary Member of the Dutch Instituut van Ingenieurs and was a Staatsraad of his country, that is the Minister or public works, from 1910 to his dead.
Leemans was an individual having seen all stages of the engineering career, from the design to the execution of large works, such as the enlargement of the Rotterdam waterways, then in the governmental offices, where he was responsible for works of his colleagues, and finally his position in the Dutch executive where he decided what works had priority as compared to others, and where he had a significant influence on the public life for almost twenty years. Besides these general merits, Leemans was in particular responsible for the Zuiderzee project to be executed after his death. From 1873, the idea of artificial land gain was discussed in the country that realized that its surface could almost be doubled when closing a large bay. During the following 25 years, the project was discussed, yet nothing was decided. Only when Leemans directed the State Commission for the Zuiderzee project from 1892, things began to move. It still took years until the final project was initiated following the terrible storms in 1916. The project was finally presented by Cornelis Lely (1854-1929), Leemans' predecessor in the Waterstaat. Leemans was also the official Dutch representative in matters relating to water, such as in the Suez Canal Commission or in the PIANC organization.
Leemans, W.F. (1880). Normalisierung van krimpen tot het begin der hoofden. s'Gravenhage.
Leemans, W.F. (1898). Verslag betreffende het onderzoek naar de oorzaken van der verwuilden toestand der Kanalen tusschen de Maas en Scheveningen. Udo: Leiden.
Leemans, W.F. (1901). Bij de veertigjarige ambtsvervulling. De Ingenieur 16(44): 714-719. Leemans, W.F. (1918). Het Suezkanaal in 1917. De Ingenieur 33(28): 513-515.
Sandick, R.A. van (1916). Een huldeblijk aan W.F. Leemans. De Ingenieur 31(38): 728-731. P http://www.parlement.com/9291000/biof/12078

Hydraulicians in Europe 1800-2000 . 2013.

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