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Friday, November 11, 2011

Netherlands : Schokland Postcard

Schokland was a peninsula that by the 15th century had become an island. Occupied and then abandoned as the sea encroached, it had to be evacuated in 1859. But following the draining of the Zuider Zee, it has, since the 1940s, formed part of the land reclaimed from the sea. Schokland has vestiges of human habitation going back to prehistoric times. It symbolizes the heroic, age-old struggle of the people of the Netherlands against the encroachment of the waters.

Schokland (mun. Noordoostpolder) is a former island in the Dutch Zuiderzee. Schokland lost its status as an island when the Noordoostpolder was reclaimed from the sea in 1942. The remains are still visible as a slightly elevated part in the polder and by the still partly intact retaining wall of the waterfront of 'Middelbuurt'.

As a result from the increasing sea-level Schokland transformed from an attractive settlement area in the Middle Ages to a place under continuous threat by floods in the 19th century. By that time the Schoklanders had retreated to the three most elevated parts, Emmeloord, Molenbuurt, and Middelbuurt. A major flood in 1825 brought massive destruction, and in 1859 the government decided to end permanent settlement on Schokland. The former municipality of Schokland was joined to Kampen on the mainland.

Today Schokland is a popular archeological site and host to the Schokland Museum. Schokland was the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Netherlands.

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