Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sea Defense

The island of Ameland is north of the Dutch mainland across the Wadden Sea. There are two ways to get there: take the ferry or walk. At low tide, areas of the Wadden Sea empty out, and guides can take people from the mainland to the nearby islands across the mudflats.

Mudflats of the Wadden Sea
Due to time constraints, I had to take the ferry. The ferry leaves from Holwerd, and to get there you have to travel parallel to and over the zeedijk (seawall) or the large barrier between the mainland and the sea.

Zeedijk in the background - it goes on forever

Ferry to the island of Ameland
Birds following the ferry
The ferry to Ameland stops in Nes, one of the few towns on the island. The majority of the island is covered in dunes.

Town of Nes, Ameland

Houses on Ameland
Dunes on the North Sea
 The chain of islands makes up the first barrier, similar to the barrier beach islands in the Tampa Bay area. However, the northern Dutch islands maintain their natural dune and vegetative characteristics, whereas those around Tampa Bay have been largely urbanized. The coastline comparison follows the same trend - the sparsely populated Friesland has the land available to put space between larger population centers and the sea, as well as the space for the high zeedijk. However, in the immediate Tampa Bay area, there are many examples of development pushed to the edge of the waterline.

Lots of agriculture
Between the natural sea dunes on the islands and the man-made zeedijk on the mainland, the local population doesn't worry about sea flooding.


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