Toen de dijken braken

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the largest natural disaster in Dutch postwar history: the Watersnoodramp. It happened on the night of Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 1953. The combination of storm surge and spring tide caused an extreme rise in water levels, especially in Zeeland, resulting in flooding with many victims. The disaster prompted the construction of the Delta Works, a massive plan that would shorten the Dutch coastline by 700 kilometers by constructing various types of dams. The floods killed 1836 people in the Netherlands. 


Gezichten van de Watersnoodramp

Welke gezichten heeft deze Watersnoodramp? Er werden ruim 72.000 mensen geëvacueerd. Verschillende organisaties kwamen helpen: van het Rode Kruis tot binnen- en buitenlandse legereenheden en vrijwilligers uit het hele land. Voor de getroffen gebieden werden al snel hulpacties op touw gezet. “Beurzen open, dijken dicht”, was het motto van een geldinzamelingprogramma die wekelijks op de Nederlandse radio te horen was.

Bekijk hier meer gezichten van de Watersnoodramp. 

On February 1, 1953, Photographer Henk Blansjaar took a photo of a woman with her children during the evacuation of the flood disaster. Blansjaar wins the Silver Camera for the Best Press Photo of 1953 with this iconic image.

De ramp van bovenaf

In the provinces of Zeeland, South Holland and North Brabant, an area of approximately 150,000 hectares was flooded during the disaster. Nearly 200,000 hectares of land were flooded. Some 3,000 homes and 300 farms were destroyed and more than 40,000 homes and 3,000 farms were damaged. The total material damage was estimated at more than 1.5 billion guilders at the time. The affected area was imaged from rescue helicopters and observation aircraft. View more images of the disaster from the air here.

De evacuatie van het vee

In totaal kwamen ruim 47.000 stuks vee en 140.000 stuks pluimvee om in het water. Het vee dat wist te ontsnappen aan het stijgende water zocht hogere gebieden op, waar de beschikbare ruimte gedeeld moest worden met de lokale bevolking.

Bekijk hier meer beelden. 

Bekijk hier meer beelden
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