of almost 1,000 km2 and the result of engineering from the Netherlands

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If you walk around the Netherlands you will probably hear a joke which may infuriate some, but certainly is not far off the mark: “The world was created by God, but Holland was created by the Dutch”. And the truth is that they are right. Not in a lyrical or symbolic sense. No. Literally, there is an important part of the country that its inhabitants created by draining water. To achieve this they resorted to dikes and polders, land reclaimed from the sea.

To support such an assertion about the origin of their country, the Dutch use an overwhelming argument that even has the official certificate of the Guinness World Records. The nation is home to the world’s largest man-made island, flevopolderan area of ​​970 square kilometres, surrounded by lakes Gooimeer, Ketelmeer and Veluwemeer and connected to the mainland through infrastructure such as bridges, the Drontermeertunnel or a dam.

Basically Flevopolder is a huge polderan area gained by North Sea and that stands out for its location, right on the coast, and its low level. Dikes and drains are mainly used to shape them. In the case of the island recognized by the Guinness World Records, however, the extension of land is bordered by water to avoid problems with the water table.

Gain ground from the water

The huge land is part of Flevoland, a province located in the center of the country, in which around 400,000 people reside and which is also the demarcation of its youngest category in the Netherlands. It was created less than 40 years ago, in January 1986. Its history helps to understand that of the island. As explained in the Why On Earth channelover the centuries the Dutch have acquired a profound knowledge of water engineering and management with a clear purpose: “Keep your feet dry”. And, by the way, provide yourself with extensions of land in which to live or cultivate.

Already in the XVII the hydraulic engineers of the country studied the opportunities and threats which represented the Zuiderzee, a shallow bay in the North Sea, and one of its most prominent names, Henry Stevin, even proposed to “tame” it. Financing and technical resources that did not exist then were available in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when, encouraged by a flood in 1916, the authorities decided reclaim land from the sea.

To achieve this, they took advantage of the shallow depth of the Zuiderzee and built a dike (Afsluitdijk) of large closures, which were completed in the early 1930s. As part of their efforts, the engineers built other key infrastructure and the lake IJseelmeer. In the 1930s the Dutch already had the Wieringermeer Polder, the first piece of land to be reclaimed from the sea. Not long after, in the 1940s, there was the Noordoostpolder.

Flevoland By Sentinel 2 2018 06 30

The Flevopolder —Why On Earth abounds— were built in two phases throughout the second half of the last century. After the Second World War the works left the eastern Felvopolder (1957) and already at the end of the 1960s, in 1968, the southern Flevopolder. The result is, even today, the largest artificial island in the world. So much so, in fact, that it is a long way from Yas Island or the international airport of Kansai, in Japan, of almost 11 km2. Other noteworthy projects have been launched in recent years, such as the Palm Deirain Dubai.

Images | Copernicus Sentinel-2 (ESA)

If you walk around the Netherlands you will probably hear a joke which may infuriate some, but certainly is not…

If you walk around the Netherlands you will probably hear a joke which may infuriate some, but certainly is not…

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