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The Netherlands remembers 60 years since the dykes broke

Friday 01 February 2013

Special events are taking part in many places in the Netherlands on Friday to remember the great floods of 1953, in which over 1,800 people died.

In the early hours of February 1, 1953, dykes in the south of the country broke, and large parts of Zeeland, the Zuid-Holland islands and western Brabant were flooded.

Over 100,000 people lost their homes in the disaster, which was caused by a combination of strong winds and high tides. Some 500 buildings were destroyed and many more were damaged. Almost 200,000 hectares of farmland land was devastated by the salt water.

In the Zuid-Holland village of Oude Tonge, where 305 people lost their lives, there will be a wreath-laying ceremony to remember the dead. Other events take place throughout the affected areas.

The tragedy led to the development of the Delta Works flood prevention scheme, a massive complex of dykes and sluice gates along much of the southern coastline.

More photos of the floods

© DutchNews.nl



 

Readers' Comments

"The tragedy led to the development of the Delta Works flood prevention scheme, a massive complex of dykes and sluice gates along much of the southern coastline."

This is what makes me admire the Dutch - that they had a disaster and committed to preventing the same tragedy in the future, while recognizing that mother nature is a powerful force and not to be reckoned with. In contrast, the folks of New Orleans decided that "God would never strike the same place twice, so who cares about strengthening the levees?" Ugh.... hubris at its best.

By Stupid | 1 February 2013 7:47 PM

Delta Works may be effective for safety, but there are also some big ecological problems. A large part of the delta is cut off from the sea, with a hard edge between salt and fresh water. Veerse Meer and Grevelingen had to switch to salt water in the past to ensure the water quality remained acceptable. And still oxygen levels in Grevelingen remain problematic. Then there is the problem with blue algae in Volkerak-Zoommeer, the only solution letting salt water in. And then there is the problem of "zandhonger" in Oosterschelde, where various sand banks are disappearing.

By pepe | 1 February 2013 10:23 PM

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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