Afsluijtdijk

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Zurich, Netherlands

Afsluijtdijk Zurich Reviews

Airpunk Airpunk
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The Afsluitdijk (Closing Dyke) Jul 20, 2008
You have found this tip. Congratulations! The Aflsuitdijk is a Dutch monument which is hard to classify. It connects two provinces, Noord-Holland and Fryslan, and doesn’t really belong to any town. I decided to put in on my Zurich page, as I visited this tiny spot only because it marks the eastern end of the Afsluitdijk. You may find other Afsluitdijk tips on other travellers’ pages such as Amsterdam or the pages of one of the provinces.

The Afsluitdijk (Dutch for closing dyke) was part of a large program to defend the Dutch coasts from future inundations by controlling the surrounding waters. This program called Zuiderzeewerken, was planned by the engineer Cornelius Lely and took place in a timespan of over 80 years. Its first publication in 1891 was followed by endless parlamentary discussions. Therefore, it wasn’t after two floods in 1916 and 1918 that the green light was given for the Zuiderzeewerken. One of the first steps was the planning of the first polder (a mass of land won from the seas) at Wieringermeer. This also included a small dyke connecting the island of Wieringen to the land. This one is sometimes named “Kleine Afsluitdijk” (little Afsluitdijk). After this strengthening of land at the western end, the most interesting part of the project, the Afsluitdijk was begun to be built in 1927. On May 28th 1932 at 01:02 pm, the Afsluitdijk was closed. It didn’t only protect those places around the Zuiderzee from further erosion and inundations. But it transformed the salt-water Zuiderzee into the freshwater Ijsselmeer. As a consequence, the ecosystem changed a lot. Many salt-water species were extinguished in this region while freshwater species moved in. Interestingly, many species also adapted to the new water conditions. This ecological change meant also the collapse of the fishing industries around the Ijsselmeer and destroyed the income source of mainly small fisheries.

Today, the Ijsselmeer is connected to the North Sea via two large lock systems, a third one will we built to cope with the rising traffic in the near future. The road on the Afsluitdijk, currently the A7 motorway, was officially opened on September 25th 1933 as the linking roads were not finished before. There are three monuments on the spot where the dyke was closed, they are described in my things to do tips.
The Afsluitdijk
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photo by: Airpunk