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Some Dutch history

Amsterdam sand

Public works in Amsterdam almost always include sand large cubic ripstop-nylon bags full of sand, sitting on pallets as part of the materiel for construction.

Many streets and sidewalks in the city center are made of bricks tapped edgewise into leveled sand. This form of paving is remarkably stable; and easily reparable. With no mortar to break up, the pieces can merely be pried loose and resituated. Vibration-packed, the sand supports bricks with remarkable stability. If they do sink out of alignment, their configuration is restorable without any kind of major work order.

And they look great.

This form of construction is not limited to maintenance of old works. This is often how new sidewalks and sometimes new road-surfaces are made. New installation is obvious, because the telltale sign is all the excess sand lying about on top of the bricks. This is done by design. Rainwater washes, and feet shuffle, and the apparently-excess dusting of sand falls into the spaces between the bricks.

But the sand isn't just for making foot-paths and roads.

To the west of downtown there is a body of water called Sloterplas. This lake was created in the mid-20th Century to harvest the infill material. Pleistocene-era sand below the peat and clay layers was dredged and distributed about the surrounding area to create a large part of greater metropolitan Amsterdam.

The Dutch have moved sand since the early days, bringin up and/or leveling out the delta terrain.

An area near the western edge of Osdorp was in the process of infilling when I lived there. Sand is trucked in. It is spread by earthmovers, and left to sit. After a few weeks, more sand is brought in, spread around in another layer, and left to sit. This continues until the desired elevation is achieved.

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