The Netherlands is largely below sea level and is ringed with dykes and sluices to keep the water out. So there is something rather odd about the plans to create a massive new lake in the far north of Noord-Holland by deliberately flooding some 1,000 hectares of land.
The new lake will, the local authorities hope, draw more water sport enthusiasts to the area – and take some tourism away from the busy Frisian lakes to the north of course. The Dutch love their boats and the more places you can sail, the better.
So what if 30 farmers have to move their businesses and dozens of others will have to cope with strange things happening to the ground water levels.
But was it really just a few weeks ago that prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende gave his backing to an equally controversial plan to build a massive new island in the North Sea – a bit similar to the scores of man made islands appearing off the coast of Dubai.
The island would be used to house a huge wind farm, a nature reserve, recreation and fish farms.
Now Sidelines might be missing the point here, but it would seem that all those activities could equally well be done on a 1,000 hectare site in a sparsely-populated part of the country in far Noord-Holland. But perhaps that would just be too easy.
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