Afluitdijk (Closing dike)
Afluitdijk (Closing dike) Afsluitdijk Reviews
historical landmark Feb 28, 2011
The monument is placed where the 'aflsuitdijk' was closed in 1932. A white tower on one side (where you can drink coffee etc.)
And on the other side (ocean side) the statue of mister Lely and an builder.
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The road across the sea Jul 26, 2009
I have been fascinated by this dike since I was very little, when my father was a truckdriver and had to go several times a week to the province of Friesland by, ofcourse, the Afsluitdijk.
When at the second half of the 19th century the chance of flooding increased badly, the giant waterworks project called "Zuiderzee Works" did started. Ir. Cornelis Lely played an important role in the development of the project. (Lely, or actually the word "lely" was in my very early vocabulaire)
The Afsluitdijk is a major part of the Zuiderzee Works, damming off the Zuiderzee (Southern sea) from the Northsea.
The dike has a length of 32 kilometers, is 90 meters width, the height above sealevel is 7,25 meters.
The material used for construction was till (boulder clay) which was plenty available in the area, a "left-over" from the Saale ice-age. It only needed to be dredged up from the seabottom, but because the sea was in fact a saltwater inlet it was not as deep as the Northsea itself.
The till was deposited into the sea again in two straight lines, and the gap was filled up with sand. It may sound easy, but the equipment available was not on the high technic level as we are used to nowadays, and there was ofcourse the changing tides of the sea.
Ofcourse the water could not be dammed of like that, the Lake IJssel did get fresh water by the rivers IJssel and Vecht, to name a few. For a.o. that reason a system of locks was needed. There are two blocks of locks, the Stevinsluizen (sluizen = locks) on the North-holland side of the dike, and the Lorentzsluizen at the Frisian side.
The work started at 1927 and the last gap was closed on May 28, 1932, two years earlier than initially thought. Ofcourse the dike was not ready yet, it needed its finishing touch, the height f.e. and a road had to be built, so one could travel from North-Holland to Friesland and vice versa. But finally on September 25, 1933, the official opening took place. On the spot where the last gap was filled a monument was placed. On that same spot you can see statue of Cornelis Lely as well as the statue of the steenzetter, symbolising the man who with his bare hands and an iron pole placed a final layer of stones.
I remember the statue of Cornelis Lely near Den Oever, the village on the North-Holland side of the dike, but it has been replaced to the new spot near the monument building in 2007, with the 75th anniversary of the Afsluitdijk.
It is estimated that the material used is about 23 million m3 sand and 13,5 million m3 of till. Over the years an average of around 4000 to 5000 workers were involved with the construction every day.
The original plan of having a railroad connection using the Afsluitdijk is cancelled, instead the 2 lane road (one each direction) was made into a 4 lane road.
By finishing the Afsluitdijk project, the Zuiderzee did not exist anymore because it turned into a lake, and it was now called IJsselmeer (Lake IJssel), and the part of the northsea north of the dike and south of the Waddenislands was named from now on Waddensea.
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