NL6: The Dutch and their water

The name of the Netherlands and of Holland both refer to the fact that a lot of land mass in The Netherlands is below sea level. This means that the Dutch have a complicated relationship towards water. On the one hand, water from both the sea and the big rivers passing our country threatens the Dutch and their society. This also has a positive side, because Dutch water engineering and water management is currently 220px-Oosterscheldekering-pohledconsidered one of the best in the world. Dutch water engineering can be seen in some famous waterworks, for example the Oosterscheldekering in Zeeland (see picture on left). This is a nine-kilometer water barrier which can be opened and closed. In quiet conditions the barrier is open, allowing sea life to travel to and from the sea. When the sea is wild and high the barrier is closed, to protect the country behind it. The other danger the Dutch have to protect themselves against, is river water. Big rivers like the Rhine can overflow, requiring high dykes. Another solution that is currently experimented with, is to give way to excess water by letting land flood in a controlled way. The Netherlands is full of water: not only rivers and the sea, but also inlets, canals and lakes. If you want to explore Utrecht, a canal cruise is very entertaining and interesting to learn more about our beautiful city. A similar thing one can do in Amsterdam or Rotterdam (especially its harbour area).