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Europolders a European Program on Polder Landscape, Heritage, and Innovation

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Since the twelfth century, polder landscapes have characterized the Netherlands, in particular, but also have appeared across Europe—vast plains reclaimed from water and repurposed for crops and livestock, farmers and rural communities. Over the centuries, urbanization has brought domestic and international visitors seeking leisure activities in these cultural landscapes. But polders have lain mostly in the shade, as it were, of other landscapes, merely a link between hills, dunes, ocean beaches, and historic cities. The Europolders Program emancipates this characteristic landscape, and strengthens prosperity in it, showing it to be an attractive and interesting territory. The Netherlands has a remarkable hydraulic engineering reputation abroad, not only because of work they have done at home—to endless extraction, reclamation and drainage, irrigation projects, dyke, channel, and harbor works—but also because they brought their expertise to the farthest corners of the world. Polders across Europe were shaped or at least influenced by Dutch (Frisian, Hollanders, Zeeuw) and Flemish people. The Europolders Program focuses on developing a European network of polder landscapes with extensive cultural and natural value. It aims to increase the accessibility, visibility, and awareness of historical polder landscapes, water management, and technological innovation, for the benefit of residents and visitors, and to strengthen regional economies.
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The path of the polders in the natural reserve Moëze-Oléron in Saint-Froult, Charente-Maritime,
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Chapter 12
Europolders a European Program
on Polder Landscape, Heritage,
and Innovation
Hildebrand P. G. de Boer
Abstract Since the twelfth century, polder landscapes have characterized the
Netherlands, in particular, but also have appeared across Europe—vast plains
reclaimed from water and repurposed for crops and livestock, farmers and rural
communities. Over the centuries, urbanization has brought domestic and interna-
tional visitors seeking leisure activities in these cultural landscapes. But polders
have lain mostly in the shade, as it were, of other landscapes, merely a link between
hills, dunes, ocean beaches, and historic cities. The Europolders Program emanci-
pates this characteristic landscape, and strengthens prosperity in it, showing it to be
an attractive and interesting territory. The Netherlands has a remarkable hydraulic
engineering reputation abroad, not only because of work they have done at home—to
endless extraction, reclamation and drainage, irrigation projects, dyke, channel, and
harbor works—but also because they brought their expertise to the farthest corners
of the world. Polders across Europe were shaped or at least influenced by Dutch
(Frisian, Hollanders, Zeeuw) and Flemish people. The Europolders Program focuses
on developing a European network of polder landscapes with extensive cultural and
natural value. It aims to increase the accessibility, visibility, and awareness of his-
torical polder landscapes, water management, and technological innovation, for the
benefit of residents and visitors, and to strengthen regional economies.
Keywords Polders ·European landscape ·European network ·Cultural value ·
Accessibility ·Awareness ·Public support ·Economic value
H. P. G. de Boer (B)
Dutch Foundation for Industrial Culture, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
e-mail: hildebranddeboer@hotmail.com
© The Author(s) 2020
C. Hein (ed.), Adaptive Strategies for Water Heritage,
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3- 030-00268- 8_12
231
232 H. P. G. de Boer
Introduction
After the Early Middle Ages, around 1000 AD, a new period of economic develop-
ment in the Netherlands led to a population jump, from about 200.000 inhabitants
to more than 800.000 inhabitants in 1300 (Malanima 2010, 5–6). The increasing
need for living space and nourishment necessitated major land reclamation in the
low, western half of the Netherlands. Fen- and peatlands were drained by draining
ditches, which caused the soil to subside, so that extensive construction of dykes
became necessary, in combination with sluices, windmills, mechanized pumping
works, and drains. Dutch experience in water management techniques, gained dur-
ing many centuries, diffused to the rest of Europe with travelers: Frisian, Dutch,
Zeeuw and Flemish farmers, dyke workers, monks, colonists, engineers, contractors,
concessionaires, and capital providers took it to Germany, Poland, England, France,
Italy, and Ukraine. Among them, the Netherlands and its people played a historically
distinctive role in this land reclamation (Danner et al. 2005, 27–29). Today, many
polders still host farmers and rural communities, although city dwellers settling in
and around the polders increasingly demand leisure activities, in conjunction with
domestic and international tourists celebrating this cultural landscape.
A range of distinctive features makes historical polder systems resilient. They
offer active control (water management), accessibility by land and water, multifunc-
tionality for residents and visitors, adaptability to current and future needs (from
changes in agriculture and urbanization to climate change), and a distinctive identity
(natural and cultural values, combination of cultural landscape and wilderness, coop-
eration between inhabitants). Yet polders lie mostly in the shade of other landscapes,
as it were, merely a link between hills, dunes, ocean beaches, and historic cities.
The Europolders Program intends to emancipate them as an important European
landscape, and as an attractive and interesting territory for domestic and interna-
tional tourism. The Program focuses on developing a European network of polder
landscapes with extensive cultural and natural value. The aim is to expand its acces-
sibility and visibility while benefitting regional economies. It will ensure that each
Europolder will link to a regional network of other historical and innovative sites;
each will have an Information Point (for example, a Waterways Museum) explaining
each important heritage site or new site related to the polder. In short, the Europolder
Program intends to provide a comprehensive view of the story of the polder.
Public support from residents and visitors is a prerequisite for sustainable conser-
vation of this natural and cultural heritage, and for the adoption of policy measures
protecting it. Local governments and regional water authorities should apply these
measures through inclusive development, with constant awareness of the historical
genesis of the cultural landscape, its cultural and economic activity.
Historically, citizens and government in most polders periodically collaborated
to guarantee responsible water management, such as keeping watercourses and their
banks clean for effective water drainage. This collective work was developed in
combination with financial levies by the authorities on citizens, to maintain opera-
tions—such as dykes and pumping stations—in an operationally responsible manner.
12 Europolders a European Program on Polder … 233
Such physical and financial efforts are still typical of life in polder landscapes. In
addition, polder communities, in cooperation with the authorities, can focus on stim-
ulating awareness by making cultural history recognizable to community members
and outsiders alike. Initiatives to restore and reallocate polder monuments—includ-
ing historic mills, pumping stations, quays, farms, and agricultural production build-
ings—go hand in hand with an increasing number of hospitality facilities for visitors.
The aim is not only to promote day-trip tourism, but also to stimulate residential
tourism as a relevant economic factor. This has become a matter of course in a polder
like the UNESCO World Heritage Beemster. The intensive exposure of the Beemster,
combined with excellent accommodation options, makes it a valued travel destination
and starting point for longer stays in the region. This approach in the Beemster and
other polder areas that have already been opened up, such as the French Marais de
Poitevin or the Holland Fen in England, will work well in the polder areas in the
Europolders Program that are not yet fully accessible.
Earlier Regional Networks
The Europolders Program is based on earlier systems of regional networks of indus-
trial and engineering heritage. An early regional network in the Ruhr area, the Route
der Industriekultur (Route of Industrial Culture) inspired its basic structure, a tourism
route connecting heritage networks that share a theme. It was part of the program
for the 1989 Internationale Bau Austellung (International Architectural Exhibiti-
tion), and continuing the IBA’s history of displaying new concepts and inventions.
In turn, the Route sparked the 1999 European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH):
it linked eighteen regional networks in Germany, Poland, Austria, Spain, UK, Bel-
gium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands; more than 100 ERIH-Anchor Points; and about
1800 other European industrial heritage sites. Several more regional networks are
in preparation, including the German–Dutch EuregioNetwork Industrial Culture and
the RotterdamDelta Network for industrial heritage and innovative industries.
One of the ERIH regional networks, the HollandRoute in the Amsterdam
Metropolitan Area, was officially opened on 1 July, 2011 by the Commissioner
of the King. The HollandRoute takes tourists and recreationists to heritage sites
of trade, industry, commerce, engineering, agrarian culture, water management and
(military) infrastructure in the Province of North-Holland, all in relation to the local
polder landscapes. The HollandRoute currently has six ERIH-Anchor Points, or
themed attractions, most of them focusing on water heritage in one way or another:
the Heineken Experience, the Dutch Maritime Museum, Zaanse Schans (an open-air
museum of a Dutch village), Museum Pumping Station De Cruquius, Museum Steam
Tram Hoorn-Medemblik, and the Dutch Steam Machine Museum in the pumping
house of the “Vier Noorder Koggen” polder district in Medemblik. Dozens of Hol-
landRoute Points are local historical sites, including windmills and pumping stations.
Places to eat, drink, and sleep are Rest Points, all located in historic buildings related
to industrial heritage and in the polder landscape. Most Anchor Points, Route Points,
234 H. P. G. de Boer
Fig. 1 Anchor Point, HollandRoute, Kromhout Shipyard, Amsterdam (Photograph: De Boer);
released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
License
and Rest Points are along either the main route or theme routes for cycling, hiking,
and boating. Water-related attractions on the HollandRoute include historic water-
ways, locks, bridges, dykes, shipbuilding and other maritime trade sites, military
defense structures, fisheries, and harbors (Figs. 1and 2). The HollandRoute brings
a wider range of visitors than many local attractions, because its associated infras-
tructure is equally distributed across the Metropolitan Region of Amsterdam. The
HollandRoute focuses on both domestic leisure and inward tourism.
In 2013, the Dutch developed a plan to extend the HollandRoute with a new net-
work, the HollandRoute Polderland Network. A coherent heritage network across
Westfriesland, Waterland, Zaan Area, Amsterdam, and Amstel-Meer, it will show-
case the comprehensive, cultural, and environmental polder heritage of the western
part of the Netherlands. In a few years, visitors will be able to see and learn about
the many features of Holland Polderland in their historical and functional context:
dykes, ring canals, drainage ditches, land reclamation, windmills, pumping stations,
locks, canals, ditches, bridges, fore polders, peat polders, clay polders, peat extrac-
tion, polder roads, railways, tramways, land use, farms, agriculture, urbanism, water
authority buildings, polder maintenance buildings, and ecology (Figs. 3,4,5and 6).
Making the heritage recognizable to a broad audience of citizens and visitors will
strengthen their experience of its history.
History is one side of the coin: the other side of the coin is the future progress that
determines the sustainable conservation of the heritage, as well as the implementation
12 Europolders a European Program on Polder … 235
Fig. 2 Rest Point, HollandRoute, Kompaszaal, Amsterdam, former arrival and departure hall of
the Royal Dutch Steamboat Company (Photograph: De Boer); released under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Fig. 3 HollandRoute Polderland Anchor Points Cruquius Steam Pumping House (Photograph:
De Boer); released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0
International License
236 H. P. G. de Boer
Fig. 4 HollandRoute Polderland Schermer Museum Mill (Photograph: De Boer); released under
a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Fig. 5 HollandRoute Polderland, Polder Point, Broekerhaven Boat Lift (Photograph: De Boer);
released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
License
12 Europolders a European Program on Polder … 237
Fig. 6 HollandRoute Polderland, Rest Point Pumping House, Amsterdam Flevopark (Photograph:
De Boer); released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0
International License
of historic values in new interventions. Think of the possible restoration of former
watercourses and quays, paths, polder parcels, fruit gardens, trees, or redevelopment
of agricultural, industrial and engineering heritage. New interventions might in many
cases be unavoidable, because of climate issues, sea level rise, groundwater silting,
economic changes in agriculture, food security, and further urbanization. Heritage
counts in this future agenda, because it makes recognizable the ongoing historical
dynamics of a polder community and the particular ecological conditions of the polder
biotope. Even in the midst of progress, a historical perspective should be valued. Only
then it will remain manifest for citizens and visitors, in tangible heritage such as the
HollandRoute Polderland Network (see photographs of Cruquius Steam Pomp and
Schermer Museum Mill).
From HollandRoute Polderland to Europolders Program
In 2014, the Provincial Government of North-Holland and the HollandRoute Foun-
dation concluded that the HollandRoute Polderland Network could be embedded in
a wider European context, raising awareness of polder landscapes and their cultural
and natural heritage. They foresaw a European network of polder landscapes, with
historical connections to the activities of the Dutch (Frisian, Hollanders, Zeeuw) and
238 H. P. G. de Boer
Flemish. Such a network would map a number of historical dynamics with emphasis
on the period between 1100 (the earliest land reclamation in Northern Germany)
and about 1875 (the latest land reclamation and settlement of Mennonite communi-
ties in Ukraine) (Danner et al. 2005, 11). It would study the influx of Dutch capital
and the use of financial arrangements to finance various water management projects
and explore the role of Dutch and Flemish engineers, investors and settlers in a
number of major water management projects, acting as intermediaries between the
Low Countries and the host countries. The network would track the Dutch pres-
ence, or footprints across the landscape, in sluices, canals, mills, dykes, settlements,
and other tangible heritage. The countries involved would be the Netherlands, Bel-
gium, France, Italy, UK, Germany, Poland, and Ukraine. This idea is the heart of the
emergent Europolders Program.
As in the HollandRoute Polderland Network, the ambition of Europolders is to
interlink the involved polder areas not only on the basis of a common history but
also the challenges of the future. Those challenges include sustainably conserving the
heritage itself, as well as incorporating historic values in new developments to attract
the interest of residents and visitors. The Europolder networks reveal unusual new
landscapes to both international tourists and urban holidaymakers; several Europold-
ers are historically related to nearby cities, or even to the urban food supply. In most
parts of Europe, tourism and recreation are continuous economic growth factors,
even though economic crises; a growing interest in cultural-historical tourism and
cultural landscapes confirms the strategic value of the Europolders Program for Euro-
pean cooperation (Fig. 7see map).
Today, an effective agenda for better regulation and innovation of the polders
landscapes should not only focus internally on heritage and water issues, but also
look outward to market polders to city populations as a cultural and natural outlet.
Polder landscapes in urban areas, such as Hamburg, Gda´nsk, Bordeaux, Venice, and
Amsterdam can do this easily. The Europolders Program can be a building block
for such innovation and for improving tourists’ access to the culturally and naturally
valuable polder landscape.
The Gda´nsk (Danzig) and Malbork (Marienburg) Marshlands, in the delta of
Vistula and Nogat, have been plagued by floods over the course of history. The
floods of 1540 and 1543 made the area unusable and inaccessible for a long time.
The nearby city of Gda´nsk was growing, and its city council decided to turn the
wetland into agricultural land to secure their food supply. This period coincides with
the rise of the Mennonites in Friesland. Foreman Menno Simons joined the Swiss
Anabaptists in 1531; in 1536, he broke with the Roman Catholic Church and fled with
his followers to Groningen and Eastern Friesland, and later to Schleswig-Holstein
to escape prosecution. Many of the Mennonites were farmers looking for land to
cultivate.
On 28 November, 1547, the Gda´nsk city council granted the village and estate
of Reichenberg (Rychemberk) to Philippus Edzema, and granted him permission
to settle it with people of his nationality (Dutch) (Global Anabaptist Mennonite
Encyclopedia Online). This was the beginning of decades of colonization. Between
12 Europolders a European Program on Polder … 239
Fig. 7 Locations of the Europolder Areas (within the green lines) on the Indicative List (after: Van
Veen 1962, 54). Aspects of Europolders: Example Poland); released under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
1547 and 1615 10.000 to 11.000 immigrants arrived in the delta (Dr. Zbigniew
Chodyla in Danner et al. 2005, 36). As historian Zbigniew Chodyla later wrote:
Thanks to the Dutch, the major elements of hydraulic systems were constructed, such as
main and local flood control embankments, drainage canals and ditches, dikes and sluices
(Fig. 8), ponds, bullock gears, and in particular bucket windmills. In addition, they planted
belts of trees and bushes in the fields and introduced braided fences. (Dr. Zbigniew Chodyla
in Danner et al. 2005, 42)
In this way, an estimated more than 100.000 ha of agricultural land was developed
in the Gda´nsk and Malbork area (in all Poland about 255.000 ha) from 1547 to
1800, exploited by the Mennonites as free farmers with the consent of the Polish
authorities for grain, cattle, and horses. The colonists built farmhouses and villages
with churches and graveyards (Figs. 9,10 and 11) (Dr. Zbigniew Chodyla in Danner
et al. 2005, 37). Some became entrepreneurs in trade and export, or in the processing
of agricultural products. Their trade went through the domestic market and export
market in Gda´nsk.
240 H. P. G. de Boer
Fig. 8 Vistula lock at Szkarpawa (Photograph: De Boer); released under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Today, several production buildings are recognizable in the area between Vistula
and Nogat, for example, the maltery of the Danziger Aktienbrauerei in Nowy Staw
(Neuteich) (Fig. 12), the dairy, and parts of the liquor factory of Heinrich Stobbe
in Nowy Dwor Gda´nski (Tiegenhof). During the nineteenth century, a dense rail
infrastructure was established: narrow gauge connections, stations, water towers,
and bridges (Fig. 13).
All these tangible elements of heritage can rather easily be used to make the area’s
fascinating history recognizable to citizens and visitors. The core of this recognition
will be the Polder Information Point in the Zulawsky Museum Park, in and around
the former dairy at Nowy Dwor, in association with a historical society (Klub Nowod-
worski). From this Point, history can be linked with innovative local developments,
with an emphasis on water management and water technology, in association with
the Regional Water Management Board Gdánsk (Regionalny Zarz˛ad Gospodarki
Wodnej w Gda´nsku).
Across the Europolder Program, the historical and innovative aspects of each
polder itself, visible in objects and spatial structures, will be part of a regional polder
network and connected by different sorts of trails. The Main Connection trail runs
between the major attractions of polder heritage. The Main Water Connection offers
visitors unexpectedly interesting possibilities in water recreation and provides them
easy access to the delta area (Fig. 14). Theme Trails, mainly for hiking and biking,
12 Europolders a European Program on Polder … 241
Fig. 9 Farmhouse in Ostaszewo (Schöneberg, Photograph: De Boer); released under a Creative
Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
are attractive routes over structures such as dykes, farmland paths, former railway
connections (Fig. 15). Long Distance Trails offer a combination of heritage links (use
of the historic infrastructure such as roads and waterways), and packages describ-
ing hospitality facilities, such as guides, points of interest, water-sport sites, cafes,
restaurants, and accommodation options. Thus, the polder is fully equipped to edu-
cate and entertain its residents and growing number of guests, in conjunction with
information on websites, apps, print media, and regional and national marketing. In
addition, the Europolder network offers information at the Polder Information Points
about the historical context of the specific polder within the European network. In
this way, the Europolder network is the platform for knowledge exchange between
the organizations running the different regional networks, mutually reinforcing the
regional polder networks in Europe.
Proposed Europolder Network
The Europolder network will be a partnership among the Netherlands, Belgium,
France, Italy, UK, Germany, Poland, and Ukraine. It thus provides a framework for
understanding the long interconnected development of European landscapes, and a
242 H. P. G. de Boer
Fig. 10 Mennonite church in Cyganek (Tiegerweide, Photograph: De Boer); released under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
means for future cultural integration. Dutch professionals were key players in the
shaping of European polders. The area in the Province of Noord-Holland (Figs. 16
and 17), for which in 2013 the Master Plan for the HollandRoute Polderland was
developed (De Boer 2013), will become part of the Europolder network, with its
characteristic polders, such as Beemster (1612), a UNESCO world heritage site
(Fig. 18), Schermer (1635), and Haarlemmermeer (1852). It will be complemented
by the Flemish De Moeren polder (Bert Toussaint in Danner et al. 2005, 141–143).
The Europolder network will include at least two polder complexes from each of
these areas (De Boer 2015).
The oldest documented Dutch land reclamation outside the Netherlands took place
in the basin of the Weser and Elbe. Polders in France, Italy, Poland, and Ukraine were
also built with the support of Dutch engineers.
In 1297, settlers from Holland began draining the area of Preussisch Holland
(Paslek) (Fig. 19). In 1547, the first Mennonite settlers came to the Danziger and
Marienburger Werder. It was the beginning of 250 years of tremendous Mennonite
influence in the region of the rivers Vistula and Nogat (Dr. Zbigniew Chodyla in
Danner et al. 2005, 33–55). The French King Henri IV (1553–1610) made use of
Dutch skills for reclaiming and cultivating wetlands. The Dutch were also involved
in reclaiming land from the marshes of the Po Valley (Ferrara, Comácchio, Venetian
Territory) in Italy during the sixteenth and seventeenth century. Dutch engineers
12 Europolders a European Program on Polder … 243
Fig. 11 Mennonite cemetery in Stogi (Heubuden, Photograph: De Boer); released under a Creative
Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Gillis van den Houte (Egidio Vandenhoute) and Everardus van Cortgene (Everardo
Corceine) designed successful drainage concepts (Salvatore Ciriacono in Danner
et al. 2005, 151–168). Dutchmen were active in England, especially during the reign
of King James I (James Charles, 1566–1625) and King Charles I (1600–1649) (Dr.
Tom Williamson, in: Danner et al. 2005, 103–119). The Holland Fen (Lincolnshire)
was drained by several Dutchmen during the seventeenth century. At the end of
the eighteenth century, the Industrial Revolution made its appearance in the polder,
with the replacement of windwatermills by steam pumping stations and with that the
mechanization of water level management.
The area around Chortyzja in Ukaine, populated by Mennonite settlers from 1788
and after, and the area near the Molotschna River, where Mennonite settlers reclaimed
land starting in 1803 (Gerlach 2002,2007) have been identified as future parts of the
Europolder network.
The synchronism between Dutch land reclamation activities in and outside the
Netherlands is striking, whereby knowledge and experience were exported to areas
where more or less similar conditions were expected. From the development of
the windwatermill in the fifteenth century to the weather-independent controllable
pumping stations of today, Dutch technology has created and maintained perhaps
the most artificial type of landscape in Europe. It is also a truly European cultural
landscape, due to the continuing international knowledge exchange for management
244 H. P. G. de Boer
Fig. 12 Former malt factory at Nowy Staw (Neuteich, Photograph: De Boer); released under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
and security in relation to climate change. The Dutch Union of Water Authorities
within and outside Europe also takes an active position in this, both by responding
to the interest in the Dutch water board system and in the innovative promotion of
sustainable water management.
The Europolders project highlights the polder landscape as a cultural landscape
of land reclamation, as a common and living European cultural heritage. It identifies
Europe as the first industrial continent, with its industrial and engineering heritage
a result of mutual transnational influences. The Europolder network transmits this
cultural European dimension to a broad public through transnational cooperation
between a growing number of historically valuable and innovatively controlled polder
landscapes, as a celebration of our European heritage.
Conclusion
Polders can be considered maritime cultural landscapes, intensively connected with
water and influenced by it. A polder is not a natural feature and cannot survive on
its own; it requires continuous human maintenance. The attributes that the regional
Europolder networks use here make up the basic condition for sustaining the polder
12 Europolders a European Program on Polder … 245
Fig. 13 Narrow gauge railway in Nowy DwórGda ´nski (Tiegenhof, Photograph: De Boer); released
under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Fig. 14 Main water connection near Drewnica (Schönbaum, Photograph: De Boer); released under
a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
246 H. P. G. de Boer
Fig. 15 Quiet trails between Vistula and Nogat (Photograph: De Boer); released under a Creative
Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Fig. 16 UNESCO World Heritage Beemster Polder (1612, Photograph: Stichting Werelderfgoed
Nederland); released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0
International License
12 Europolders a European Program on Polder … 247
Fig. 17 Schardam, sluice (1592, Photograph: De Boer); released under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Fig. 18 Brandenburg (Germany), Neuholland (Photograph: De Boer); released under a Creative
Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
248 H. P. G. de Boer
Fig. 19 Dluzyna, near Paslek (Preussisch Holland, Photograph: De Boer); released under a Creative
Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
landscape. The first (physical) layer includes historical and current spatial elements
that illustrate the story of the formation of the polder. Further, human use of the
polder reveals the second (spatial) layer, with aspects such as diversity of land
use and the built environment. The attributes used here in the course of time make
human life in the artificial landscape tangible. The third (social) layer concerns the
interconnectivity of the polder communities as part of a society, with aspects such
as innovation, regulation, economic exchange, mutual connections, and hospitality.
The combination of hospitality, heritage, and innovative developments in each polder
adds up to substantial value for both the domestic population and external visitors.
The Europolders Program aims to intensify this combination, by creating regional
heritage and innovation networks with active stakeholders, and by forming a Euro-
pean platform to further increase the awareness of polder landscapes among a wide
audience with many different expectations. The resulting public support will confirm
local identities and create conditions for local people to further preserve historical
values and making contemporary values recognizable. The Europolders Program is
an integrated policy that fosters preservation, transformation, and the adaptive reuse
of historic water-related structures to economically strengthen communities and help
sustain a unique and historically important landscape type.
12 Europolders a European Program on Polder … 249
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Hildebrand P. G. de Boer studied History of Art and Archeology at the State University of
Groningen, the Netherlands. Since 1983, he has worked in heritage conservation, redevelopment,
and tourism, focusing on industrial and water-related heritage. Besides his international work for
Europa Nostra, ICOMOS, and the International Committee for the Conservation of Industrial Her-
itage (TICCIH), De Boer is managing director of the Dutch Foundation for Industrial Culture
and the founding vice-president of the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH e.V.).
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... Los rellenos de terrenos de pendiente y de áreas inundadas constituyen una realidad en muchas ciudades del mundo (Boer, 2020). Valparaíso y Coquimbonuestros casos de estudio-ostentan innumerables ejemplos de estas prácticas ancestrales en la relación entre seres humanos y superficie terrestre. ...
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A través de un método descriptivo general (análisis documental, estadísticas de población y vivienda, y la observación), en el artículo se examina el proceso de urbanización y su relación con la naturaleza en ciudades costeras chilenas, tomando como ejemplos las comunas litorales de Coquimbo y Valparaíso. Mediante un marco conceptual asociado al paradigma marxista-urbano de la producción del espacio, se caracteriza y analiza ambas comunas, dando cuenta de las formas que ha adquirido la relación entre el entorno construido y la naturaleza, centrándonos principalmente en el papel de la vivienda y, en específico, de la vivienda subsidiada. Se concluye demostrando el proceso contradictorio de urbanización en el que se encuentran ambas comunas
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This paper examines the long history of planned water and landscape management in China, focusing on the Tai Lake Basin located in the southern part of the Yangtze River Delta. To position this polder landscape within the broad spectrum of water heritage in China, the paper examines the historical perceptions and symbolism of water and its decisive role in shaping Chinese outlooks on empire, urban settlements and landscapes. It then delineates the evolution of polder landscapes in the Tai Lake Basin, which has been recurrently transformed since the fifth century BCE through to their contemporary condition. Despite changing material forms, the polder landscapes in the region evidence continuous endeavour to manage water for both productive (food) and preventive (flood) purposes. The latter part of the paper considers to what extent these polder landscapes might now be considered as a ‘continuing landscape’ – an organically evolved cultural landscape reflecting the changing needs of society, economy, government as well as flood prevention. Today, with few features that are materially historical, their continued existence has been threatened by urbanization, land consolidation and agricultural modernization. The paper advocates historically informed landscape planning to safeguard these dynamic and adaptive agricultural landscapes.
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Traditional cultural landscapes throughout the world are well recognized in environmental policy and nature conservation practice. The multifaceted national and international initiatives for the maintenance of traditional cultural landscapes are outlined, paying particular attention to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems, national parks, biosphere reserves, the European Landscape Convention, High Nature Value Farmland, the ASEAN Declaration on Cultural Heritage, the Latin American Landscape Initiative, the Santiago de Cuba Declaration on Cultural Landscapes in the Caribbean, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the initiative Landscapes for People, Food and Nature, and the Japanese Satoyama Initiative. The particular characteristics and objectives of these initiatives are described and examples given.
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This paper aims to compare the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt Delta in Europe and the Taihu Basin part of the Yangtze River Delta in China from a long-term historical perspective. Urbanized deltas are among the most prosperous and populated regions in the world, but also the most vulnerable. To cope with growing uncertainty, their systematic comparison has become instrumental in building mutual learning on the theory and practice of spatial planning and water resource management in such vulnerable contexts. Based on a systematic comparative mapping approach of Delta Urbanism with critical review of policies, this research highlights important similarities between these two deltas in terms of physical characteristics, dense occupation, and management history evolving from a decentralized polder-based system to a centralized control model, and a recent adoption of integrated and adaptive water management strategies. On the other hand, the comparison reveals distinct management focuses in current delta plans, as well as contrasting approaches to public participation and historical hydraulic landscapes. It is found from this comparative study that, beyond the socio-cultural specificities that can explain the distinct management practice of each region, the systematic use of mapping as a visualization and communication tool would facilitate integrative and adaptive delta management.
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