Tag Archives: history of polder systems – netherlands

Flood Control – 01: The polder systems in The Netherlands

Editor’s Note:  Flood Control- 01

In 2005, I published an article Guyana Flood Analysis – Cyril Bryan, where I advocated the use of Dutch engineers and technology to solve Guyana’s recurring flood and sea defence problems. Garbage in canals is an issue, however, the main problem is that the present drainage infrastructure is inadequate.

Guyanese Online will be featuring a number of articles and videos on flood and sea defence management.  The Dutch (Netherlands) are the most experienced in this technology, as three-quarters of their country is below sea level. They built the framework of Guyana’s drainage systems, as colonial rulers from 1581-1781. This is the first of many articles and videos that will be featured:

The remarkable history of polder systems in The Netherlands


The traditional polders in The Netherlands have been formed from the 12th century onwards, when people started creating arable land by draining delta swamps into nearby rivers. In the process, the drained peat started oxidizing, thus soil levels lowered, up to river water levels and lower. Throughout the centuries farmers have been adapting their agricultural system to lowering soil levels and occasional floods and invented new ways to organise themselves and keep sea and river water out – resulting in the building of hundreds of drainage windmills and later pumping stations to pump water from polders into the rivers and the sea. Continue reading

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