I took this picture last week, because, after a week of snow and ice, the thaw had started for several days and the ice started to move and the ice floes were blown against the ‘Afsluitdijk’
Holland and water are inextricably linked. There is of course the famous coast, but behind it lies a fascinating landscape of ditches, waterways, canals, lakes and rivers. Our windmills, pumping stations, polders and dikes are world-famous. Nearly a third of our country lies below sea level. If Holland didn’t protect itself against the waters, half of Holland would be submerged. Making Holland a safe country was not easy: the Dutch had to fight for almost every square metre of land. Sometimes the people won, sometimes it was the sea. The large water engineering works of the past centuries, culminating in the Delta Works, are examples of our victories over the sea. How we manage our water and enjoy it can be seen and experienced in various places for example at the Afsluitdijk.
From sea to lake
The 32-kilometre-long Afsluitdijk, built between 1927 and 1933, is an important part of the Zuiderzee Works and connects the provinces of Friesland and North Holland. It also changed the saltwater Zuiderzee into the freshwater IJsselmeer. The Zuiderzee Works consisted of two parts. In the first stage, the Zuiderzee was dammed, turning it into a freshwater lake. The second part of the plan was the reclamation of new land. This meant that, after the Zuiderzee had been closed off, the entire new province of Flevoland was reclaimed from the waters. It’s a very interesting location to visit!
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor