February 3, 2013
The Netherlands remembers 60 years since the dykes broke
Friday 01 February 2013
Special events are taking part in many places in the Netherlands on Friday to remember the great floods of 1953, in which over 1,800 people died.
In the early hours of February 1, 1953, dykes in the south of the country broke, and large parts of Zeeland, the Zuid-Holland islands and western Brabant were flooded.
Over 100,000 people lost their homes in the disaster, which was caused by a combination of strong winds and high tides. Some 500 buildings were destroyed and many more were damaged. Almost 200,000 hectares of farmland land was devastated by the salt water.
In the Zuid-Holland village of Oude Tonge, where 305 people lost their lives, there will be a wreath-laying ceremony to remember the dead. Other events take place throughout the affected areas.
The tragedy led to the development of the Delta Works flood prevention scheme, a massive complex of dykes and sluice gates along much of the southern coastline.