Through my eyes

living my life without regrets

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Northern Holland, NL

Northern Holland

North of Holland, blocking the waters of the North Sea, is a bulwark so impressive; it could be called a wonder of the world. Flood control is a daily activity in Holland.  A humongous dam holds back water that could swamp about 2/3 of the Dutch land.  We drove over a part of those barriers, but the dam we traversed was 20 + KM long.  There are many other installations covering the entire coastline of the Netherlands. Every minute of the day, water is pumped back into the ocean. Sand is re-positioned. Scientific estimates roll off computer models, showing constantly where reinforcement is needed. Global warming and the rising of the world’s oceans are not games to the Dutch. They are constantly preparing themselves for the ‘what if’ scenario. I remember the last storm in 1953, I was a kid but I remember it. After this catastrophic flood, the Dutch Parliament decided to take drastic action and established a National Program to fight against any further damages. The money spent on controlling the building projects was astronomical. The latest estimates going forward, call for the need of another 144 Billion U.S.$ (100 B. Euro) just to protect the now established land in the future. No wonder the income tax in Holland is at 50% per individual.
This Is Part Of The Dam We Drove Over

Not many people think about this part of life in the Netherlands, and I wonder how many tourists think of this when they visit. It was mind-boggling to see the work already done, but even more so to contemplate the work that still lays ahead for Holland.
The Red Line Separating The Two Shades Of Blue Is The Dam We Drove Over

Does all of this affect the daily life of people living in the area? Do they think about it a lot? I just wanted to look at the massive sites, wanted also to visit Friesland to just look around. 

We drove to Leeuwarken and slept in town for one night, but from what I could see, there was no difference in the living style or the housing or the way people did their daily chores. Friesland is like any other part of coastal Holland. The area is flat, canals were dug to drain off the water, cows grazed, the sun shone. It was bucolic, peaceful. I am not sure how I would like living there in a severe storm though. One day, I am sure of it, Holland will have another devastating flood. And what will be flooded? Nobody knows, no matter the models they prepare now. Mother Nature will reclaim some ground that the Dutch have worked so hard to wrangle from her clutches.  Time will tell. 


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