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The Netherlands under water

A long, long time ago, I still lived in the Netherlands, known to be a country over halfway under water if the sea walls (Deltawerken (Deltaworks) & dikes) break.

On a few occasions I realized the vulnerability while I lived there.


Image found at anp-archief.nl
One of them was the storm in 1991, where the harbor of Scheveningen, close to where I lived then, partially disappeared under water. I had never seen something like that before. The beach at the boulevard was also almost gone, water was only a few meters away from the walls where the Scheveningen Boulevard started.

from Wikipedia

Another reminder I got when I was sitting on the roof of my house in Waddinxveen, where I lived in 2004. I had a reliable GPS in my hand which said … -1m. Minus one meter. So even if I would be at 0 NAP, I would still be under water. And there were no higher buildings around to retreat to, just in case needed. It was close to the lowest area underneath the main waterlevel


The netherlands compared to sealevel
Flood control in the Netherlands

So yes, there’s a reason I’m up high and dry in Darmstadt nowadays. Nevermind the tornadoes, blizzards of earthquakes :)

Interestingly enough, the dutch Radio & TV broadcaster recently brought out a series of 6 episodes, partially in Dutch and partially in Flemish, called “When the dams break” (Als de dijken breken). It’s recorded near places where I lived and as hot spot Waddinxveen and Bodegraven are mentioned. Also our bicycle trip from beginning this year goes just past one of the most vulnerable locations when it comes to storm and high water.

And let it just be, that yesterday, Friday the 13th of January 2017 & today, Saturday the 14th of January 2017, a heavy North-Western storm, including full moon which causes a spring tide, was about to happen.


The harbor of Scheveningen was (again) partially under water. Quite some flood barriers were closed, including a few which don’t close very often. Luckily it wasn’t as bad as expected. Not as what happened in the series… yet.

The series is about a heavy which storm pulls along Western Europe. While the Belgian Prime Minister decides to evacuate the coast at Ostend, the Dutch prime minister has a major dilemma: evacuate and abandon the Randstad or await the storm. A dutch family with 2 daughters decide to leave, but a belgian mother decides to stay with her mother and two children near the coast. And then the storm strikes…


(part 1 of 6 – can be found via Youtube – Dutch with dutch subtitles for the Flemish spoken parts)

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