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Zuider Zee

  • Zuider Zee was a shallow inlet of the North Sea in the Northwest of The Netherlands

  • It extends about 100km inland and at most 50 km wide,with an overall depth of about 4 to 5 meters and a coastline of about 300 km

  • It was a popular port during the 17th century and but its use declined in the 18th century as its waters were not deep enough to accommodate the bigger sailing ships that had developed.

  • In the the majority of the Zuiderzee was closed off from the North Sea (leaving the mouth of the inlet to become part of the Wadden Sea and the salt water inlet changed into a fresh water lake called the IJsselmeer(IJssel-lake) after the river that drains into it. The river IJssel is an estuary branch of the river Rhine.

How to reclaim the Zuider Zee?

  • The construction in the early 20th century of a large enclosing dam (the Afsluitdijk) tamed the Zuiderzee. The creation of this dam was a response to the flood of January 1916. Plans for closing the Zuiderzee had been made over thirty years earlier but had not yet passed in parliament. With the completion of the Afsluitdijk in 1932, the Zuiderzee became the IJsselmeer and large areas of water could be reclaimed for farming and housing.
  • A dam was built across the mouth of the inland sea to enclose the area and to prevent water from the North Sea from flowing into it.
  • Enclosed area turned into a freshwater lake,called the Ijsselmeer

  • The Ijssel Lake was formed by pumping out the sea water and filling it with fresh river water

  • Portions of the lake were then enclosed by dikes and drained to form polders.

  • The polders are known as respectively the Wieringermeer ,the Noordoostpolder, and Flevoland.

  • The ZuiderZeeworks ran from 1919 to 1986,culminating in the creation of the new province of Flevoland. The reclamation project was originally intended to reclaim the former southwestern portion of the Zuiderzee, a body of water now known as the Markermeer, but this final stage of the reclamation project was indefinitely postponed in the 1980s

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