Last November, we took a short self-drive holiday from Brussels to Amsterdam. This being the first time that AB was driving in Belgium and the Netherlands, it took us a quite while – several rounds around “The Ring” at Antwerp + a few detours, to be specific – to get our first destination: Delta Works in Zeeland.It was AB who wanted to visit the Delta Works. “My dream vacation destination since I saw it on educational TV as a child,” he happily proclaimed in spite having been a little frustrated from getting lost on the road earlier : )
The photo above is of the storm surge barriers and windmills within the Delta Works. Coincidentally, our visit to the Delta Works came just after Hurricane Sandy had hit New York and AB was telling me how storm surge barriers could have helped the situation significantly had they been constructed. Seems like the debate is still ongoing.
On a related note: AB was interviewed, and his work featured, in an Atlantic Cities article about maps that showed the immediate impact of the hurricane on NY’s transit system!
Back to the Delta Works: This construction of the series of dams, locks, dykes, storm surge barriers, etc. started in 1958 to protect the low-lying coastal areas from flooding during storms. The project spanned over 30 years and was completed in 1997.Here’s an interesting video – albeit with overly dramatic music – about the history behind the Delta Works, and here’s another video in black and white, showing the construction.
Trivia no. 1: New Zealand (yep, I’m referring to the country in the Pacific Ocean) is named after Zeeland. The first Europeans known to reach New Zealand were led by Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman and arrived in 1642. Initially named Staten Landt / States-General of the Netherlands, the country’s name was changed to Nova Zeelandia / Nieuw Zeeland after the ‘original’ Zeeland in the Netherlands in 1645.
Trivia no. 2: Zeeland is famous for its mussels. When I first moved to Brussels in October 2011, I often saw posters outside restaurants advertising that they were serving “moules de Zélande” (mussels from Zeeland). For the longest time, I was puzzled as to why were they importing mussels from New Zealand as I didn’t know that there exists the (original) Zeeland just north of Belgium! Duh.