Dutch dikes

Travel tips you can trust


Dutch dikes
are special

For at least a thousand years they have helped hold back the North Sea from flooding the country's land.

Dutch dikes
tips and insights

Major disasters

There have been many. The earliest known one occurred in 1287. The North Sea surged in, destroying villages, farmland, and untold lives. What was once dry land became what is known today as the Zuiderzee (South Sea).

More recent disasters happened in 1916 and 1953. Both encouraged massive dike building programs.


The country has more than 500 kilometers (300 miles) of dikes.

The largest is the 30-kilometer (19-mile) long Afsluitdijk ("Barrier Dike"). It's wide enough to easily accommodate a four-lane motorway (see photo above).

The creation of that dike transformed the Zuiderzee into a freshwater lake, from which land is still being reclaimed.

The Delta Works in the nation's southwest is the other massive dike-building project worth exploring.

Interesting facts & tidbits


Over a quarter of The Netherlands is below sea level, including the city of Amsterdam.

Over 50% of the population live below sea level.

"Netherland" aptly means "low land".

A popular local saying goes, "God created the world, the Dutch created The Netherlands".

Related web pages

Dikes are one of the three major flood management components. Click Dutch Canals and Dutch Windmills to read my pages on those two wonders.

Know these Holland tips and insights

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Dutch Dikes
Dutch Windmills
Holland Cheese Markets
Holland Museums
Keukenhof Gardens
Madurodam Miniature Vllg
Royal Palace - Amsterdam

Also read
Top 3 Holland Wonders
Dutch phrases for travelers


Dike photo by Benthewikiman


Netherlands Board of Tourism


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