Visit Holland - The Netherlands


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Term Definition
Watersnoodramp - flood disaster

The 1953 North Sea flood (Dutch, Watersnoodramp, literally "flood disaster") was a major flood caused by a heavy storm, that occurred on the night of Saturday 31 January 1953 and morning of 1 February 1953. The floods struck the Netherlands, Belgium, England and Scotland. A combination of a high spring tide and a severe European windstorm over the North Sea caused a storm surge (known locally as a "storm tide"). The combination of wind, high tide and low pressure had the effect that the water level exceeded 5.6 metres (18.4 ft) above mean sea level in some locations. The flood and waves overwhelmed sea defences and caused extensive flooding. The Netherlands, a country that is partly located below mean sea level and relies heavily on sea defences, was mainly affected, recording 1,836 deaths and widespread property damage. Most of the casualties occurred in the southern province of Zeeland. In England, 307 people were killed in the counties of Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. 19 were killed in Scotland. 28 were killed in West Flanders, Belgium.