David's Diary: Saturday, September 2, 2001

Zeeland, The Netherlands

Zierikzee
Zierikzee

After a week of school we were ready to see more of the Netherlands. We were up early and headed off to Zeeland, the South Western corner of the country. This region is formed by a series of islands, all below sea level, surrounded by the North Sea.

We started our tour in the town of Zierikzee. We originally planned to visit the town just for lunch, but the charms of Zierikzee kept us there for a few hours. We found an Internet Cafe and promptly stopped to catch up on email. In addition to being clean and bright, there were a variety of hand-made items on sale and we bought a number of things to take home including necklaces for Kevin and Allen.

We walked the streets and the boat lined Oude Haven. This was the first time we had been close to the ocean since leaving Vancouver in June. We walked the docks and peered at the sailboats knowing that in another month we would be cruising our own sailboat in the Mediterranean.

Delta Project
Delta Project

After lunch we headed for the Delta Project. Zeeland has been subject to repeated flooding with one of the worst floods ever recorded in the Netherlands overwhelming the dikes in 1953. The Delta Project was started to control tidal levels around the islands and prevent the disaster of 1953. To do so, a storm surge barrier more than 3km long was constructed over the course of ten years.

Today you can visit the Delta Expo, which describes the engineering and human effort that was required. This includes a model of the entire delta, extensive film footage of the 1953 flood and the construction effort, and models of various ships used throughout Dutch history for both exploration throughout the world and for maintenance of canals and waterways.

Domburg
Domburg

The final stop of our long day of touring was the beach town of Domburg. This is a typical Dutch beach town with changing huts lining the beach. Wooden pilings run down the beach at regular intervals to prevent erosion. While it was late in the day and getting cool, Jocelyn, Kevin, and Allen spent time playing in the sand and running into the ocean. Whether in Vancouver or The Netherlands, some things never change.

It was interesting to see that many of the hotels in Domburg were located "inside" the dikes. Since the dikes are more than 10m high, three-story hotels had no view of the ocean. It would be hard to imagine such a hotel in British Columbia, where towering cliffs provide splendid views of the ocean and worries about flooding are almost non-existent.

To finish the day we stopped in a small village for dinner. Zeeland is known for its mussels, so Karalee and I were looking forward to a seafood dinner. But it was very late, the children were hungry, and we picked the first good looking restaurant that we saw. It turned out to be a Dutch Pancake (Pannekoeken) House and while the menu was much to the liking of our children we had hoped for something a little different. But this was a great chance to experience something truly Dutch and the menu included many adult selections. The pancakes were more like pizzas than the pancakes that we are used to and I chose a tomato, cheese, and oregano pancake that was quite good. A long drive home and our day in Zeeland was over.

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