You might’ve noticed how flat the Netherlands is — and for that, you’d be very right! Though the reason for that actually has a lot to do with water and how the Dutch have mastered its ways. 🌊
The Dutch don’t bat an eye when you remind them that they’re all living below sea level because they’ve been managing and engineering their neighbouring waters for years!
We guess you could say that they’re quite AQUA-inted with it. 😉
What is it?
The Dutch have a long history with water — they’ve literally built their country from the water up by reclaiming land surface from the sea!
About one-third of the Netherlands is below sea level, with the lowest point being in Nieuwekerk aan den Ijssel, 6.76 meters below sea level.
Why do they do it?
Through a combination of innovation and years of engineering, the Dutch managed to build entire cities on sinking land. 🤯
This is quite impressive, knowing that 17% of the Netherlands used to be completely underwater.
They first did this by building dikes to separate land that was underwater to prevent it from flooding even more — these areas of land are called polders.
Then, by pumping the water out using windmills, they found themselves with new strips of flat land!
Of course, the Dutch had other tricks up their sleeves when controlling the water. They also built canals to manage the water flows and prevent them from seeping into their newly reclaimed land.
Pretty soon, many Dutch cities started forming around these canals, which made the Dutch close neighbours with their water.
So, as a result of their naturally-flat geographic location and their genius aquatic engineering, today, the Dutch don’t care about the fact that they live below sea level since they know that their brilliant engineering skills have always had their backs. 👌🏻
Why is it quirky?
Generally, most European countries find themselves above sea level, except for some areas such as Lammefjord in Denmark and Kristianstad in Sweden.
Also, the name “Netherlands” in itself hints at the fact that it lies below sea level since it literally means “low-lying country”.
Nether = lower in position.
Lands = solid parts of the surface of the earth.
Should you join in?
Absolutely! The Dutch have mastered the water through countless methods and mechanisms.
They’ve always known how to work with it, so you shouldn’t really care about the fact that the Netherlands lies below sea level either because, well, they’ve already got it covered. 😉
What do you think of this Dutch quirk? Have you experienced it? Tell us in the comments below!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in August 2022, and was fully updated in July 2023 for your reading pleasure.