Dykes and Water Management

It is well known that much of the Netherlands, that is most of North and South Holland, consists of a spider's web of polders, dykes and dams. The low-lying land was drained with dykes and pumps to keep the water away from flooding and move it to the sea.

It is less well known that a large area (1 million acres in fact) of East Anglia, stretching from western Norfolk, through Cambridgeshire and southern Lincolnshire consists of the same landscape. The Fens were originally wet marshland until in 1630 King Charles I employed Dutch architect Cornelius Vermuyden to drain the land with the building of new waterways to carry the water to the major rivers. In fact, the southern district of Lincolnshire is called Holland because of its links with that Dutch region.

The Thames Barrier in London was too largely inspired by the major dams and gates used in the Dutch system. Dutch water engineering is considered the most innovative and safe in the world, and the British have turned to various organisations in this sector for help and services over the years.