News of: Saturday, September 10 2005,

Dutch water protection system big news in US

In the aftermath of the Katrina hurricane, officials of water protection works are coping with their own floodings: journalists from all over the world.

Numerous interviews are given by - particularly - spokespersons of the grand water works that were made in Zeeland, the province of the Netherlands that was flooded in the big storm of 1953.

Because of the storm (widely known as the 'Watersnoodramp'), 1800 people were killed. After the disaster, big dams and dikes were installed to prevent future disasters. The works are known as the Deltawerken (Delta Works), and a famous constructions is Neeltje Jans.

A spokesman of Neeltje Jans made it to the CNN website, according to which he reportedly blamed the Americans for not having protected New Orleans better. He himself, however, says he had only said it was hard to imagine that a country like the US hadn't prepared itself better and he lack of sympathy had nothing to do with it.

A lot of American journalists apparently want to know where Hansje Brinker used to live. This is a character from a childrens' book that is famous in the US, he is the boy who put his finger in the dike to prevent a flooding. The event and the character are however completely fictitious.
In order to please the American tourists, the Dutch Bureau for Tourism decided to place a statue of Hans Brinker at Spaarndam in 1950.

About one third of the Netherlands is below sea level, generally the west part up to the city of Utrecht. This part of the country is the most populous and economically the most important, it includes Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague.
Apart from the huge dams in Zeeland in the south-west part of the country, the country is protected by some 300 dikes and the natural sand dunes that stretch all the way along the west coast of the country.