I received an email this past week from Ome (Uncle) Hans from the Netherlands. Oh oh…the longest major dijk will be closed for 3 years in the Netherlands – April 2019 to April 2022. This is on our cycle route and we were looking forward to biking this to get across the sea!
The Email Message
On Wed, Mar 20, 2019 at 6:42 AM Hans en Ineke wrote:
Hi dear: Een message from our governement:
The Afsluitdijk is closed for years, only for cars, not for bikers.
Work is related to the see level rising.
The bus takes you and the bike for free. Do not worry. There is no problem at all.
Read the message: I hope you can translate it.
(below is what I translated from dutch to english):
The cycle path will be closed from 1 April 2019 to 1 April 2022. Reinforcing the Afsluitdijk is a major job. Safety for road users and for the people who carry out the work is paramount. To safely carry out the work on the Wadden Sea side, we will close the cycle path between 1 April 2019 and 1 April 2022. This happens alternately between Den Oever-Breezanddijk and Den Oever-Kornwerderzand.
We arrange replacement transport in the form of a bicycle bus for pedestrians and (moped) cyclists. Pedestrians and (moped) cyclists can use a bicycle bus free of charge during the closure of the cycle path. The bus runs once an hour and carries around 15 bicycles and 25 people per trip. The timetable will be announced on this site shortly.
What do we do now?
So we will be able to get across just not by biking.
- We will have to make sure to have the bus schedule.
- Plan our arrival appropriately since it only runs every hour.
- Since we can knock off 32 kms from our trip, we will look to see if maybe we want to do a little more biking that day (maybe on the other side in Friesland?) – anyone have any thoughts on this?
- Phew – I first thought we couldn’t get across at all. I pictured us swimming 32 kms haha! I am glad those dutchies have a plan!
The Water Issue in the Netherlands
The Afsluitdijk is just over 32 km long and is 23.8 feet above sea level. With the rising water levels and my understanding from global changes, many of the dijks in the Netherlands are no longer high enough to keep out the water. To avoid flooding the government has a long-term plan for water management.
They developed the “Delta Programme” which is outlined extensively on the government water management site. “The Netherlands is the best protected delta in the world. Yet how do we keep our country safe from high water, now and in the future, and ensure a sufficient supply of fresh water? And how can we ensure that the Netherlands remains an attractive country in which to live, work and invest?” The goal of the Delta Programme is to protect this.
The Water Museum
If you ever get a chance to visit the Watersnood Museum (Flood Museum) in the south east of Netherlands it is laid out extremely well. It is in four caissons from World War 2 which are sitting on the water’s edge. You will find out when you visit that the caissons were used to help with the repair of the flood. As you go through the caissons, each one tells the story from the despair of the flood in 1953, the repair and improving of the dijk system, and that the struggle with water in the Netherlands is forever.
Well of all countries to have to develop and maintain this ongoing issue with water what better than the Netherlands. They are the experts in flood control and water management, and are influential all around the world as others learn from them.
On the cycle trip I am taking in May 2020, I hope to learn more about the water management and the development and plan to keep their country safe from the sea!!!