Ezinge and water management

The village of Ezinge

As the saying goes, 'God created the earth and the Dutch created The Netherlands'. There is no place to better see this than the museum of the ancient Dutch village of Ezinge.

To protect themselves from the nearby sea, the ancient villagers built their houses on a five meter high man-made mound, locally called a 'terp' or 'wierde'.

Ezinge and historic water management

Building farm-size mounds is probably the oldest form of water management. The wierde of Ezinge goes one step further, in that a whole village was built on a mound, with all the farmhouses built around the central square and church.

After the 12th century, polders came in vogue. Instead of building man-made mounds, people of several villages combined forces and built ringdikes around whole polders. As a consequence, the wierde of Ezinge lost its function as a shelter against the sea.

God created the earth and the Dutch created The Netherlands

Relevance for modern-day water management

In recent years, The Netherlands has witnessed a number of near floodings in the Rhine and Maas river plains. One of the conclusions is, that instead of technical solutions like dikes, more space needs to be given to the water. Several polders are designated as emergency overflow areas.

Particularly noteworthy are the plans made by the inhabitants of the Overdiepsche polder. The 80 resident farmers will relocate their farms to newly-built 'terps', so that, during periodes of extremely high river discharge, the polders can be allowed to overflow.

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