Wednesday, 30 April 2014

A-Z Blogging Challenge - Zuider Zee

The Zuider Zee was originally a bay of the North Sea in the northwest of the Netherlands. It extended about 60 miles inland. Storms in the North Sea frequently pushed water into the bay, causing flooding of the areas around it, and loss of life. One the biggest of these occurred in the 15th century when 72 villages were flooded and over 10,000 people died.

Many fishing villages grew up around the bay, and later towns like Amsterdam and Hoorn, which traded with ports in the Baltic Sea, and also with England and Germany.

After another disastrous flood in 1916, it was decided to build an enclosing dam, the Afsluitdijk, which closed the bay off from the North Sea. The resulting inland lake, now called the Ijsselmeer, contains fresh water, and about 580 square miles of land was reclaimed, known as the ‘polders’.

The Afsluitdijk was constructed between 1927 and 1933. It is about 20 miles long, and has locks and sluice gates at each end. As you drive along it, you have the salt water Wadden Sea (an inlet of the North Sea) on one side of you, and the fresh water Ijssel lake on the other.

And this brings me to the end of the 2014 April A-Z Blogging Challenge. I hope you have enjoyed me on my journey around Europe. Many thanks to all who have visited my blog and left comments for me – and apologies to all those whose blogs I didn’t manage to get to.

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