After the flood of 1953, it was decided to better protect the coast of Zeeland and South Holland by means of the Delta Works. The dams, with the Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier as a technical highlight, provided extra protection as well as improved accessibility of the Zeeland islands. And the construction created beautiful new recreational areas where you can enjoy water sports, sunbathing, walking or cycling.
The Flood of 1953 (also referred to as the Disaster of 1953 for short) occurred in the night of January 31 to February 1, 1953. Spring tide and a northwesterly storm pushed the water in the funnel-shaped North Sea to record heights.
In the southwest of the Netherlands, many dikes broke and a large part of the province of Zeeland, West Brabant and the South Holland islands were flooded. More than 1,800 people and many animals drowned; 100,000 people lost their homes and possessions. Flooding also occurred in England, Belgium and Germany and hundreds of people died. Many lost their lives at sea in shipwrecks. In the Ardennes, the storm left a snow layer of two meters behind.
It was a terrible disaster and a terrible call for action. The disaster of 1953 sends a clear message: this must never happen again. The safety of people, animals and land must be drastically improved. A year later, the Delta Plan comes into effect. The Delta Plan from 1954 indicates which measures are necessary. The result is the Delta Works, hydraulic engineering works for the implementation of the Delta Plan: new dams, a storm surge barrier and dikes at Delta height.