Dutch term – Aanwas

Aanwas means increase. The term can often be found in reference to increase in land because of river deposits. Laws specified who owned the aanwas. Sometimes neighbors argued about the rights to the newly created land, for example if one property owner lost land because of erosion while his neighbor gained land due to deposits. These conflicts … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Veer or Veerpont

A veer or veerpont is a ferry. If you can't find a person, try looking in the records on the other side of the ferry. People living on one side of the river may have normally used a ferry to go to church, but if the ferry was out during the winter or bad weather they might have had to go to another church to have their children baptized. People … [Read more...]

Why the Little Dutch Boy Never Put his Finger in the Dike

He is probably the most famous Dutch boy that never lived. The Little Dutch boy who saved the day by putting his finger in a dike. The book in which he appeared, Hans Brinker; or, the Silver Skates: A Story of Life in Holland, featured several stories. The story about the Little Dutch Boy told how he saved Haarlem from flooding by putting his … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Overstroming

An overstroming is a flood or inundation. A large part of the Netherlands is below sea level, protected by dikes. If dikes aren't high enough or get oversaturated, the land protected by the dikes can flood. The last big flood was in 1953, when 1836 people died when large parts of Zeeland and Noord-Brabant flooded. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Pieremagoggel

A pieremagoggel is a vessel, but not a boat since it cannot have a keel. The term is sometimes used to denote a ship that was no longer considered sea-worthy. Other pieremagoggels are built for fun, rather than any practical applications. Pieremagoggel contests score the vessels based on their creativity, and ingenuity of the … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

Quick tip – The Netherlands: Beyond Amsterdam

If you want to learn about the history of the Netherlands and our fight against the sea, watch this 25-minute YouTube Video by Rick Steve. The Netherlands: Beyond Amsterdam (YouTube) … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Waterschap

The Waterschap is the water board, the government agency responsible for water management. With half our country below sea level, that is a big responsibility. Just last night, the water boards decided to close the storm surge barriers between the North Sea and the rivers to prevent major flooding. Water boards have been around for a very long … [Read more...]