The Drainage of the Zuyder Zee

    Abstract

    THE Dutch are a people who in many respects command the respect of the world. Their little country possesses comparatively few natural resources, and yet they have made so much of it, and they have been compelled to cultivate the virtues of frugality and industry to such an extent, that the people as a whole are probably better off than those of any other country in the world. Small as the country is, it is only by the exercise of great skill and constant watchfulness that they are able to prevent its being overwhelmed by the German Ocean. In this unfortunately they have not always been successful. Over and over again has the sea burst in upon them, laying waste their dearly-loved country, and sweeping away thousands of the inhabitants. It has only been after many severe lessons that they have learned how to keep the invader back. And within recent years they themselves have taken the offensive, and determined to drive out old Neptune from lands which he has possessed for centuries. Even in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries they succeeded in draining many small areas of land, and during the present century many marshes and lakes have been brought under cultivation, including Lake Haarlem, upwards of 40,000 acres in extent. In this way about 350 square miles of land, mostly devoted to pasture, have been reclaimed, and that entirely by means of windmills.

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