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A quarter of Netherlands lie below the sea level. Most of these low-lying areas are land reclaimed from the sea. The region was originally occupied by the estuaries of three large rivers—the Rhine, the Meuse, and the Scheldt, as well as their tributaries. Starting from the late 16th centuries, the Dutch drained the low-lying areas called polder by building an elaborate drainage system consisting of dikes, canals, and pumping stations. The highlight of this incredible engineering is a series of construction projects called Delta Works, built over a period of four decades, to protect a large area of land around the Rhine-Meuse-Schelde delta from the sea. Along with the Zuiderzee Works—another large land reclamation project on the North Sea—the Delta Works have been declared one of the “Seven Wonders of the Modern World” by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Waterloopbos

Photo: Photodigitaal.nl/Shutterstock.com


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