D is for Dikes

Here is DB walking along the dike in Den Helder. We were visiting DB’s parents a few weekends ago and we went jogging on the top of this dike. It separates the North Sea from the town and farm land below. In the very far distance you can see the radar towers of the navy base. Den Helder sits on the farthest northwest tip of the Netherlands. It is a very strategic piece of land, taken over by Napoleon, who left cannons behind, and was bombed to smithereens by the Germans at the beginning of WWII. There’s no old city center in Den Helder, just like Rotterdam. Bombed to dust.

But anyway, back to D for Dikes. Dikes define the Netherlands. Dikes are everywhere. Old dikes, new dikes. Dikes to keep out water. Dikes to keep in water. Dikes of dirt mainly. The Mother of All Dikes would be the Afsluitdijk, which was built between 1927 and 1933. It closed off the Zuiderzee, turning it from a salt water bay to a fresh water lake. What a feat of engineering! Wikipedia has a nice write up about it. Here’s an image that I found on the site of Huub Mous.

I have not yet driven across the Afsluitdijk, but when Mom comes to visit, this is another place I want to take her. (It’s becoming a long list!) The road over the dike is highway A7, linking the province of Noord Holland to province Friesland. We want to visit Friesland anyway, so this is the route we will take.

If you come to the Netherlands, and venture outside the cities, you will see dikes a plenty, water everywhere, and if lucky a few old windmills.

For more D is for Dutch things, check out Andy’s D is for Drop!

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