January 10, 2007
Wednesday, January 10, 2007By Nate Wybenga
Today we visited areas in which the water from lakes was drained and the space was then used for agriculture. The process to remove the water from a lake is this: A large ring dike (a mound of earth) is built surrounding the lake. Then, windmills were used to essentially lift the water over the dike and into the canals surrounding the ring dike. Several windmills were needed in series to completely dry the lake empty. This drained lake where the water table is controlled is called a polder.
So today we drove around and looked at some of these emptied out lakes. At lunchtime, we went to a windmill museum. Although windmills arenít used anymore to pump the water out of the dried out lakes, this museum still had 3 windmills, one of which was running for us so we could see how it operated. This was very need to see the innovation (for back then) of converting wind power into power to transport water.
We then went westward and looked at the dunes on the North Sea. Our group went up the dike on the North Sea and walked up to the water. It was an incredibly windy day, and we certainly realized why the Netherlands needed such a large sea dike.
After the trip to the dune areas we drove home. All of us are starting to make plans for Friday to Sunday as we do not have class and are then free to travel around as we please. Tomorrow we are going to look at land recreation in the former lake Zuider Zee, which is now the current Ijsselmeer.
A diagram of how the windmills worked
A view of the windmill we toured
Our group outside the windmill we toured
A windy visit to the North Sea!