How a sea became a lake - Golden Circle History
For many centuries, the Zuiderzee was the throbbing heart of Holland. Its turbulent waters brought prosperity to many fishing and trading towns in the 17th century. Fishing boats plied back and forth with an abundance of fish. The ships of the VOC (United East India Company) brought back magnificent materials, spices, tea and gold from their long voyages to exotic destinations. Of course, not all was well in those long-gone days. The force of the water was responsible for many floods, while storms and wars caused grief.
Ever-larger and heavier ships were built; these deep-drawing vessels could no longer sail the shallow Zuiderzee. After many setbacks, a plan was developed at the beginning of the 20th century to tame the dangerous sea. In 1930, the Wieringermeer was the first reclaimed Zuiderzee polder. On 28 May 1932, the final opening in the IJssel Lake Dam was closed. This heralded the end of the Zuiderzee, now known as IJssel Lake. On the bottom of the IJssel Lake many archaeological finds, shipwrecks and historical art treasures were unearthed. Enclosing the sea and turning it into a lake robbed the many fishing villages of the livelihood they had known for so long. The population was forced to look for other sources of income and turned to cultural-historical tourism, traditional crafts and water sports.
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