Dikes in Holland

This is the blog of a 25-year-old bookmark. I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1.

Twenty-five years, and I don’t look a day older than one! Alas, I can’t say the same for my Travelling Companion. I spend most of my time inside a book (well, duh) while the TC sees the world. Read all about me and follow my blog posts to share my experiences as bookmark and travelling worm.

From time to time, I’ll say something meaningful. Like a t-shirt.

Today’s travel notes

The Travelling Companion has been rather sedentary recently, so I’ve been crawling through her photo albums again. I came across some pictures of Holland and some scraps of a letter that she wrote about her encounters with dikes.

This letter is twenty years old, written in April 1988. I thought you would enjoy a bit of ancient history 🙂

We drove along a very impressive dike, which separates the Markermeer from the IJsselmeer. The dike is 29 km long. It is quite lovely to see the open water on each side of the road, with yachts and water-birds dotted all over. A large area east of the Markermeer is reclaimed land, called a polder. There was a plan to reclaim the entire Markermeer, so the dike was built to allow the land to be drained. But evidently they have decided not to do that just yet. One reason why they need more land is that the airport Schiphol is too busy. So they planned to build another one where the water is at present.

North-west of Amsterdam is another polder, eight metres below sea level. There is a canal connecting Amsterdam to the North Sea, and the water in the canal is at sea level. So the canal is well above the level of the roads! It is a very odd experience to see a ship sailing by above you.

A tall tale

Many people have heard the uplifting story of brave little Hans, a Dutch boy who saved his country by sticking his thumb in hole in a dike, to plug an incipient leak. It’s a ridiculous story, really, when you see the size of the dikes.

When the TC was in the Netherlands, she mentioned the tale to a Dutch friend, fully expecting him to acknowledge it as a piece of native folklore. He looked faintly amused and said that he had heard the story but thought it was probably English or American, because no Nederlander would come up with something so silly.

Traveller’s tip

Don’t believe everything they tell you.

The book I’m in

RESTful Web Services, by Leonard Richardson & Sam Ruby.

Technically tranquil.

The photos

Climbing up a dike, somewhere in the Netherlands:

Dikes in Holland

Dikes in Holland

Due to a lamentable lack of labelling (notice the skilful alliteration) I can’t tell you exactly where the TC was when she snapped these shots, except that she was in Holland and on a dike.

To be precise, I can’t even be certain that she was in Holland itself. This may be one of the other provinces of the Netherlands, such as Zeeland.

The view from the top of the dike:

Dikes in Holland

Dikes in Holland

If anyone recognises the dike, or the storm surge barriers in the distance, let me know.

That’s all for today, dudes.


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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I recently received information regarding a location of old in Holland. The spelling is not correct as I am unable to find it anywhere. Here’s what I have, perhaps you can figure it out.

    Strovendale on the Strangel Dike – Holland (of Old)

    Thank you!


  2. Hello
    I teach 2nd grade in a public school in TN. We read a story about “A Hole in the Dike” today. I wanted to show the kids a photo of “the real thing.” Google lead me to your site. Bookworm is cute. I look for photos of places and animals that are different than the ones we have here to show the kids for units, stories, trips, etc.

  3. Hallo Mrs Rush

    Thank you so much for dropping in and leaving a comment. This worm is delighted that he could provide a photo of a real dike.

    Does “TN” refer to Tennessee, USA? Please give the grade 2 children a big friendly wave from me, with all six of my hands, all the way from Sydney, Australia.

    With kind regards
    Mark Wordsworm
    Travelling Worm

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