Visit Holland - The Netherlands

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Term Definition

A polder is a low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments (barriers) known as dikes that forms an artificial hydrological entity, meaning it has no connection with outside water other than through manually operated devices.The ground level in drained marshes subsides over time and thus all polders will eventually be below the surrounding water level some or all of the time. Water enters the low-lying polder through water pressure of ground water, or rainfall, or transport of water by rivers and canals. This usually means that the polder has an excess of water, which is pumped out or drained by opening sluices at low tide. Care must be taken not to set the internal water level too low. Polder land made up of peat (former marshland) will sink in relation to its previous level, because of peat decomposing in dry conditions.