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Dutch Christian Democratic party wants a polder in the North Sea

The Netherlands, autumn 2007 —

In the news, NL, late 2007
The Christian Democratic Party (CDA) wants to build a new polder in the North Sea.

A polder is the area within an individual system of dikes that forms a sealed unit of land protected from the inflow of water from a higher elevation. In the modern polder (after about A.D. 1400,) there is a mechanized evacuation of excess water from the polder-bottom to the waterways that run at slightly higher elevation along one or more of the surrounding dikes.

CDA wants to build a massive island polder of up to 100 square kilometers in the sea off the west coast of the mainland.

There are practical reasons for the Dutch to desire more land. The country is densely-populated.

The desire for a polder in the North Sea is also an expression of the primal national urge: "We are Dutch. We claim land from water. It is what we do. It's been a while."

Indeed, the arc of the Dutch waterworks history points toward a new large project.

The early Dutch settlers made terpen, or man-made hills that were the first human refuge from high tides on the delta. They later developed polders that could be evacuated of excess water at low tide; and, after that, mechanized processes for evacuating water at any time of day. The windmill, and the vast riches of the Golden Age of the 17th century brought great areas, in small sections of impoldering, into use as dry land.

In the 20th century, Dutch engineers and workers made an entire new province in what was the Zuiderzee — an arm of the sea.

The Deltaworks, also in the 20th century, shortened the North-Sea coastline along the mouth of the great rivers by about 700 kilometers in an effort to protect against flooding in the case of storm surge.

Now, there's the idea of making dry ground of a large section in the North Sea off the west coast. It would be a massive project, of extreme complexity and at immense cost. And, following the obligatory prodigious amount of discussion, it may be inevitable.