The Netherlands is a geographically low-lying country, with about 25% of its area and 21% of its population located below sea level and 50% of its land lying less than one metre above sea level. This distinct feature contributes to the country's name: in Dutch (Nederland), English, and in many other European languages, its name literally means "(The) Low Countries" or "Low Country".
The 1953 North Sea flood was a major flood caused by a heavy storm, that occurred on the night of Saturday 31 January 1953 and morning of 1 February 1953. The floods struck the Netherlands, Belgium, England and Scotland. On the islands and the mainland, large areas of country were completely flooded with water. Many people still commemorate the dead on 1 February.
After the 1953 disaster, the Delta Works were constructed, a comprehensive set of civil works throughout the Dutch coast. The project started in 1958 and was largely completed in 1997 with the completion of the Maeslantkering. A main goal of the Delta project was to reduce the risk of flooding in South Holland and Zeeland. This was achieved by raising 3,000 kilometers of outer sea-dykes and 10,000 kilometers of inner, canal, and river dikes, and by closing off the sea estuaries of the Zeeland province. New risk assessments occasionally show problems requiring additional Delta project dyke reinforcements. The Delta project is one of the largest construction efforts in human history and is considered by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the seven wonders of the modern world.
When visiting The Netherlands, the Delta Works are definitely worth paying a visit. The easiest way would be by car to drive around the different works. Hire your car on our website and enjoy this wonderful modern construction.