Bringing the Netherlands Out of the Ocean


As you all have seen in many of my posts, there are canals all over the Netherlands. These manmade canals have been around since the early 1600s. They are significant features of the landscape because they are in almost every city and town in the Netherlands.

What makes this environment special or different?:

Amsterdam and other major Dutch cities are known for their canals. Many canals were the result of careful city planning; canals were designed to serve as additional streets for transportation. Besides Amsterdam, Leiden and Delft were also made with canal transportation in mind. What makes the Netherlands and Dutch engineers so special is that over 26% of Dutch territory lies below sea level. Thus, without canals and engineering features, much of the Netherlands would be under water. The Dutch have been engineering these canals for centuries, and they haven't stopped. They continue to reclaim land from the seas and lakes in and around the country.

What parts of this environment help people to live here?:

The Dutch originally built canals because "merchants needed to transport their goods and cities needed a way to easily expand and protect themselves". Now they do it to reclaim land by water removal when they need more of it, to irrigate crops, and for other, modern travel needs.