Saturday, June 17, 2006

A date at The Afsluitdijk

Yes! I had a chance to pass the greatest accomplishment of the Dutch people, the Afsluitdijk (Closure-dike), a major dam in the Netherlands when we went to Friesland.

Constructed between 1927 and 1933 and running from Den Oever on Wieringen in North Holland province, to the village of Zurich (mun. W√Ľnseradiel) in Friesland province, over a length of 32 km and a width of 90 m, at an initial height of 7.25 m above sea-level ( 53° 00' 00" N 05° 10' 00" E) . It is a fundamental part of the larger Zuiderzee Works, damming off the Zuiderzee, a salt water inlet of the North Sea and turning it into the fresh water lake of the IJsselmeer.

Foto from Deltawerken (Delta Works).

This project is a man-made system of dams, land reclamation and water drainage works, and the largest hydraulic engineering project undertaken by the Netherlands during the twentieth century. The project involved the damming off of the Zuiderzee, a large, shallow inlet of the North Sea, and the reclamation of land in the newly enclosed water body by means of polders. Its main purpose was to improve flood protection and create additional land for agriculture.

Since The Netherlands is blessed with a fascinating geography, nearly a quarter of its territory is below sea-level and half of the country would flood if it were not for the dikes. To the Dutch these conditions are hardly something special. Over centuries they lived in these conditions and organised the spatial planning accordingly and worked out with a comprehensive Delta plan.

I was amazed! This has led to the saying "God created the world, but the Dutch created the Netherlands." :-) That's what I remembered from many readings that I had. This is an irony but just an exhibition of excessive team works that Netherlands is proud of from the rest of Europe and the whole world.

This is the Afsluitdijk monument that reads "Heir werd de dijk gesloten 28 Mei 1932" (Here the dike became closed 28 May 1932).

Try to look the foto below: This is a 70 year old souvenir of my hubby's grandparents. This is the Afsluitdijk in the past as exactly as it is now where we are standing above. What a retrospect !


Trivia:
His grand-parents had the same age gap like us. Do you think that history repeats itself? :-):-):-)
For sure they had a date here same as we did . :-) A small but accomodating cafe is just at the back of the monument.

Being atop of the monument is an overview of the infinite horizon of fathomedless-water of the North and Zuider sea. White sea gulls are flying over the water that completes an interesting sight seeing. Also ä romantic point for couples to "say I do" that is if both are courageous enough to stand against the wind and embrace the cold. :-) Well, I think a nice challenge to welcome the sunrise there while waiting for the sunset is more gezellig! (cozy!).

Sitting there was also a time to be intimate with the idea on how remarkable aspect of the Netherlands is the flatness of the country. About half of its surface area is less than 1 meter (3.3 ft) above sea level, and large parts of it are actually below sea level.

Now, I am thinking of my country...it has about .61 % water( delimited by international coastline boundaries) of the total area plus considering that's an archipelago surrounded by water. Mountain ranges are evidently nowhere in Holland unlike Philippines. I am starting to widen my imagination if a miracle of invention will bridge my native home up to where I am now. :-)

Let's see if Dutch creativity and ingenuity will work out :-)...

Just check the highlighted words for more links and further readings.

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