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Netherlands: The Dutch & Water

Netherlands: The Dutch & Water

Living Below Sea Level

Have you ever built a sandcastle? If your answer is “Yes,” then you know just how difficult it is to keep it safe from an incoming tide. There’s no stopping the ocean without a brilliant method and the right tools.

 
The Dutch people have all of these things. In fact, they are experts with hundreds of years of experience outsmarting water to protect the Netherlands. This is important, as about one-third of their land is below sea level, and half of it is just over sea level.
 

For nearly 2,000 years, the Dutch have made embankments, called dikes. These dikes prevent the sea from invading the land.

For most of the Netherland’s history, the dikes have worked. But in 1953, massive storms and unusually high tides caused the North Sea to spill over them. The flooding killed many people, livestock was lost, and over 70,000 people were forced to evacuate.

After the flood, the Netherlands decided to make the country safer by developing the Delta Works Project. This flood protection system is made up of dams, locks, dykes, levees, and storm surge barriers. Confused? Don’t worry – the video will give you a great explanation of what all these things are.

 
London, which receives about 100 days of rainfall a year, is often called the “rainy city,” but some cities in the Netherlands receive nearly 200 days of rainfall per year! That’s a lot of rain!
 

In addition to rain, water threatens the Netherlands from all directions. The North Sea and various rivers are constant threats, and more than half of the country’s population lives in areas at risk for flooding. Fortunately, there is only a 1 in 10,000 chance that the Delta Works Project will fail.

More and more, countries are recognizing the need for more land to support an ever-growing population of people. Flood prevention is an important piece of the puzzle for ensuring this can happen.

Jenny

 

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