Dutch term – Dijkgraaf

A dijkgraaf is a dike reeve, the head of a waterschap [water board]. He is responsible for the water management, including flood control, in his district. His function is similar to a mayor of a municipality. 

Nowadays, a dijkgraaf is appointed by the King for a period of six years.

Historically, a dijkgraaf was usually somebody who had extensive property in the district for which he managed the water, to ensure he would do his best to keep the land dry. If your ancestor was a dijkgraaf, you may find out more about him in the water board archives.


Flood in the Achterhoek, 1946. Credits: Ab Hakeboom, collection Nationaal Archief (CC-BY)


  • Dijkgraaf (waterschap),Wikipedia (https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dijkgraaf_(waterschap) : rev. 29 sep 2016 20:44‎).
About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, CG®, QG™ is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She holds the Certified Genealogist credential from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and has a post-graduate diploma in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee. She has been doing genealogy for over 30 years and helps people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. And of course there as some families that inherited the occupation as their surname

Leave comment