Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

Europe's most accomplished dredgers and drainers are the Dutch. Settlers from the Netherlands have industriously drained wetlands and coastal meadows across the continent from Bordeaux to the Baltic. We look at some of the continent's Hollandries.

article summary —

Dutch settlers shaped the Altes Land. But they were also active on the other side of the Elbe, settling in flat and poorly drained areas on the north bank of the river. By the mid-12th century, there were Dutch communities or drainage projects (so-called Hollandries) in the Kremper Marsh and Wilster Marsh. In the latter, there are areas which lie more than three metres below sea level. Further east, Dutch settlers helped draining marshlands to the south and east of Berlin. Their role is recalled in the name Fläming (from the German word for Flanders) — that’s the part of rural Brandenburg which lies immediately south of Berlin.

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About the authors

hidden europe

and Susanne Kries manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers. They delight in discovering the exotic in the everyday.

This article was published in hidden europe 49.