The day that the Dykes broke. (video)

The Netherlands remembers 60 years since the dykes broke

Friday 01 February 2013

Special events are taking part in many places in the Netherlands on Friday to remember the great floods of 1953, in which over 1,800 people died.

In the early hours of February 1, 1953, dykes in the south of the country broke, and large parts of Zeeland, the Zuid-Holland islands and western Brabant were flooded.

Over 100,000 people lost their homes in the disaster, which was caused by a combination of strong winds and high tides. Some 500 buildings were destroyed and many more were damaged. Almost 200,000 hectares of farmland land was devastated by the salt water.

In the Zuid-Holland village of Oude Tonge, where 305 people lost their lives, there will be a wreath-laying ceremony to remember the dead. Other events take place throughout the affected areas.

The tragedy led to the development of the Delta Works flood prevention scheme, a massive complex of dykes and sluice gates along much of the southern coastline.

More photos of the floods

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4 Responses to “The day that the Dykes broke. (video)”

  1. StaggerLee Says:

    Dear gerard and Helvi, thank you for your kind words yesterday. I saw them this morning and a smile stretched across my face.

    thank you.

    I read of your own troubles. It’s an awful business. I do wish you strength and courage.


  2. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, it never rains but it pours. Sun will break through again.
    Glad you liked H’s words and they made you smile.


  3. Elisabeth Says:

    Thanks for this, Gerard It sent me back into the past. When I was growing up my parents kept a book about the disaster in our bookshelf called De Ramp. I spent hours looking at the pictures in this book and trying to imagine the horror. The floods in Queensland are also a reminder.

    For my mother it was worst of all. She had only the year before come to Australia from Holland and when she heard the news about the flood she was devastated for her homeland.

    The memory stays with me, one of those strange memories of events at which I was not present but lived through vicariously.


  4. gerard oosterman Says:

    Thank you for your look at this historical event.

    I still remember the flood and I even went to the beach to look at the storm. Many German bunkers that were built into the dunes during the war, near our place at The Hague, had toppled over onto the beaches below. The waves were unbelievable and me and my brother could not get home quick enough. It was unbelievable also the amount of aid being flown in, especially from the US. Blankets and clothing, mountains of it.


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