For the first time, the Dutch dikes have been fully mapped out
‘A must for everyone: a feast for the eye, the head and the heart’ – Henk Ovink
Dutch Dikes offers a complete overview of the Netherlands’ most important invention: the dike. Because what would the Netherlands be without these feats of engineering? One thing is certain: it would not exist in its current form. For more than 2,000 years, dikes have kept the land dry. What once began with mounds and culverts is now a network of more than 22,500 km of dikes, dams and dike relics. Dikes are the framework of the Dutch landscape and hold an important role in daily life: the Dutch live in dike houses along the Waalbandijk, spend weekends cycling along the winding Westfriese Omringdijk and visit the monument on the Afsluitdijk.
Subsidence and changing climate greatly influence the Dutch delta and the dike system. This is why building, reinforcing and maintaining the networks of dikes is a never-ending task. Dutch Dikes presents an overview of the dikes in their current state, as well as offers a look towards the future. Based on the first map of dikes in the Netherlands, the dikes are characterised, explained and categorised in all their diversity. From drift dikes to summer dikes, from sea dikes to waterline dikes, and from dreamer dikes to guardian dikes: all forms of dikes are brought together in a unique, systematic genealogy. In addition, the book features a surplus of dike anecdotes and in-depth portrayals of 40 of the 100 most remarkable Dutch dikes.
Despite their importance to our history, economy, culture, and nature, our dikes have never been properly mapped out. This is remarkable, because without dikes, the Netherlands would never have existed; they are our most important invention. In the book ‘Dutch Dikes’, based on the first Dike Map of the Netherlands, the Dutch dikes will for the first time be described, interpreted, and portrayed in their entirety: from primary embankment to relict, from sea wall to defence line dike, and from dreamer dike to watchman dike. The list of the top 100 dikes shows the most remarkable dikes of the Netherlands.
With contributions by Tracy Metz, Eric Luiten, Steffen Nijhuis, Hans Renes, Henk Ovink, Minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen (foreword)
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