National Geographic : 1950 Dec
749 A.B .C. Press, Magnum Wall by Wall, Row upon Row, New Homes Take Shape at Eindhoven Each year Netherlanders require 40,000 new dwelling units to house their expanding population. Lack of wood compels them to search for new materials. These houses use concrete blocks. bolizes the perpetual struggle of Holland against the water." The story of Holland's water war starts with an old and worthy clich--"God made the earth, except Holland, which the Dutchmen made for themselves." If you doubt the literal truth of this, look at the map and the record (map, page 752). Almost all of the Provinces of North and South Holland, two of 11 that now compose the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is below sea level, some of it about 17 feet below. In addition to this, large portions of Zeeland, of Friesland, of Groningen, and lesser parts of several other Provinces are below the mean water level. Cut off from sea water by the huge 20-mile dike, and fed by fresh streams, the Zuider Zee has become a fresh-water lake, the IJsel Meer, and is being robbed of nearly two-thirds of its area to form new polderland below lake level.* Two of four vast developments, which are to total 550,000 acres, are virtually completed (page 766). Another, to every traveler's regret, is later to swallow up the costume island of Marken (page 759), making it a mere rise on extensive farmlands. A publication sponsored by the Dutch Gov ernment states that "30 percent, at least, of the surface area of the country has been re claimed from the sea." More than half of the nation's 10,000,000 people now live below sea level. These areas include the great cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, where every building of any size rests on massive piles. It takes nearly 14,000 * See "New Country Awaits Discovery," by J. C. M. Kruisinga, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, Sep tember, 1933.