Advertise here

My few words about the irrigation system of the Netherlands

My family with local irrigation system

My parents were born and raised in poor countryside. In times of war chaos, there are not many young rural people who have good educational conditions. But parents are more fortunate than most of their peers. Many times reviewing the past mother said that if you do not go to university, you must be attached to life in the flood in the countryside.

Mother though is the eldest but weaker than her brothers, the aunt, working limelight is slow and ineffective should be "kicked" to school. At that time, there was a very familiar saying: first, second, third and encyclopedia. But to pass the prestigious medical school must be smart, careful and well-rehearsed lessons, often only urban people do.

Children in rural areas have little access to information and education and no one in her hometown know how to do this. So she naively signed up for the exam. The father was formerly known as the warring army. On the day of receiving the summons, his grandfather to the People's Committee of the village made a rumor that the house had a dozen sons to take away most of the army, and the youngest to leave home. Eventually, most people there went to school and later entered the irrigation field. Since then, my parents have been working their whole life with irrigation.

At that time, communist government has policy to let children to work on irrigation project.

It is customary for my parents to do something more to get money rather than stay with their own job. So it is no wonder that since childhood I have seen many drawings of irrigation works. Every new school year, I would like to ask for a sheet of collapsible sheet of paper with plaster drawings for the booklet. This paper is very tough and the ball should be used to wrap books.

Thanks to that, I always have a notebook with a book cover that is very durable. Naturally, I grew up with drawings and so many interesting business stories. And like many intellectuals of the time, I was taught by my parents.

I remembered that my mother always used irrigation folk saying to teach me about life, about people and even to make examples as foreign trade, economics, medicine, but it has been feeding the whole family.

Moreover, Vietnam is the country of new land such as Netherland; I will tell you a impressive number of rivers in Vietnam.

If I ask you:

How many rivers in Vietnam?

What will you say? One, five or twenty rivers. I would like to say that they are all wrong.

There are about 3000 rivers in Vietnam from the North to the South which have divided Vietnam into many small regions.

We also have many floods and typhoons around the whole year.


Dutch sea dike - Photo I have taken in Marken!

Talking about irrigation cannot mention the Netherlands. Being visited in the Netherlands is a great blessing in my life.

The trip to the Netherlands gave me the opportunity to witness many large and modern irrigation projects, showing excellent design and construction. So how specific Dutch superpower like?


The water in the river is higher than the land.

In late August 2005, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the United States, killing at least 1245 people and costing US $ 108 billion. It is one of the three most violent storms in American history. One of the hardest hit areas is New Orleans, Louisiana. This city has an interesting feature that is below sea level. US typhoon experts do not know how to redesign urban areas to minimize potential future risks. In the end, they have struck their colleagues in the Netherlands. To the American people to respect and rely on the Dutch must have a very high level of expertise. It's no exaggeration to say that they are number one in the world.

It is true that the Dutch have long experience in water management. History recounts that 2000 years ago the Netherlands was not under, but only slightly above sea level. At that time, people chose natural mounds for their livelihoods, and witnessed sea level rising and falling in tide. Over time, population growth has led to indispensable pressures on expanding land for livelihood, farming and livestock. So the first dykes began to be built, linking the mound with the other mound, forming dense seagrass beds. Along with dyke embankments, water drainage and dredging improvements are of particular interest. Windmill is a very important Dutch invention to pump seawater out of marsh areas.

I have visited the village of Zaanse Schans. At the height of the peak, there were 10, 000 windmills in the country at the same time!


Netherlands - the land below the sea level

But there is a very irony that the more water is pumped out, the less the ground subsided. You imagine the land is like a cake. The perfect breadcrumbs always have hollowness and moderate humidity inside. But if the fire is too hot, the water is not enough to keep the cake is completely porous texture, resulting in the cake is flat. In fact, the Dutch "cake" has been drained a lot of water, gradually falling and falling.

Today the lowest part of the country is located in the southwest with the elevation of -6. 76m, Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport is -4m high, and Rotterdam city center is 6m below sea level. Assuming that there are no river dikes, dykes and ancillary facilities, half of the Dutch country is currently in the sea.

Talking about the sea dykes cannot mention the two most majestic projects are Zuider Works and Delta Works. Zuider Works is deployed in the Zuider Bay, which is deep inland through a narrow gate. In 1916 a major storm broke many dykes, 16 people were killed, 300km2 flooding caused great economic losses. Immediately after the storm, the Dutch government plans to close the gates with a dike that is more than 30 km long. Building a sea dyke, especially at the gates, is an extremely costly task because the outflows into the area are complex. If not calculated carefully, how much to put in the sea will be swept as much as the hard work but not the work of the cowboy on the beach.

Yet I totally agree that the ambitious long-running Zuider Works project was successfully implemented by the Dutch for more than half a century (1920-1975) with a number of important items, most notably the Afsluitdijk Sea Dyke in September 1933. Afsluitdijk is as straight as a sea ruler, so large that it has four lanes on the dike surface, significantly shortening the time it takes to travel from North Holland to Friesland. From here the sea Zuider was wiped out and replaced with Ijsselmeer fresh water lake 1100km2 (equivalent to 33% of the area of Hanoi city). Large villages and towns began to rise up the lake to form the new Flevoland province. The capital of the province is the city of Lelystad named after the chief engineer Zuider Works - Cornelis Lely.

The South West of the Netherlands, where the Delta Works project was deployed, is a delta divided by many estuaries. According to the 1937 report of the Rijkswaterstaat (a national marine management agency), the system of coastal protection works in this area is not enough to withstand the storms. The solution is to block all estuaries to minimize the potential for attack of inland water. The Delta Works project was conceived at the time, but due to the impact of the Second World War, capital was delayed and slower than expected. The first items were only completed in 1950.

Traditional Story of Vietnam

Sea-going, water-management of the Dutch reminds me of the story of Son Tinh – Thuy Tinh. This is a famous Vietnamese fairy tales about the war for the princess between the river god and the mountain god. The rise of the North Sea and how ferocious the Dutch sea dykes are, the stronger and stronger the sea dykes are. Breaking events seemed to have never been discouraged but rather a Dutchman who became stronger and wiser in water management.

Today, the whole country is protected by dykes, the sea is out of sight and no longer a concern of the Dutch. "God created the earth, but the Dutch created the Netherlands. "

Photo gallery

Content available in other languages

Comments (1 comments)

Want to have your own Erasmus blog?

If you are experiencing living abroad, you're an avid traveller or want to promote the city where you live... create your own blog and share your adventures!

Want to have your own Erasmus blog?

Don’t have an account? Sign up.

Wait a moment, please

Run hamsters! Run!