North Sea flood of 1953 commemorated
The North Sea flood of 1953 (Watersnoodramp) was commemorated in Ouwerkerk in the Dutch province of Zeeland. Minister Schultz van Haegen and Delta Commissioner Wim Kuijken laid a wreath. The Watersnoodmuseum opened Caisson 4, a permanent exhibition focusing on the Dutch battle against the water.
(On-screen text: Radio news bulletin, 1 February 1953:)
RADIO NEWSREADER: The flooding from last night and this morning
is a national disaster.
VOICE-OVER: The worst disaster in the Netherlands' history
occurred exactly sixty years ago.
1,836 people died and more than 100,000 lost their homes.
A commemoration was held in Ouwerkerk for the victims of the 1953 Flood Disaster.
Minister Schultz van Haegen and Delta Commissioner Wim Kuijken laid a wreath
on behalf of the Dutch government.
Ouwerkerk, where the National Flood Monument stands,
was also flooded in 1953. And the memory still lingers on.
MINISTER SCHULTZ: It was very cold that night too.
And when the water level rose, people didn't know where to go in the dark.
The emergency services hadn't responded yet.
The impact was huge. It was a very closed, traditional community.
Those emotions don't just disappear, not in one generation.
(Minister Schultz says.)
VOICE-OVER: To prevent a new flood disaster,
development of a revolutionary flood-control project, the Delta Plan,
A lot needed to be done to make and keep the Netherlands safe.
New technological inventions led, among other things, to the famous Delta Works.
But the country must continue to protect itself
by maintaining and innovating existing defences.
That is the job of the Delta Programme.
DELTA COMMISSIONER KUIJKEN: The Delta Works created after 1953
are now completed.
But in the mid-1990s there was almost a second disaster along the river
with more than 200,000 people evacuated in Betuwe.
So the Room for the River programme was started.
The Delta Works weren't the end of the matter.
A follow-up programme is now underway. Work on the delta is everlasting.
We are safe but vulnerable and new measures will always be needed.
(Wim Kuijken says.)
VOICE-OVER: The Flood Museum in Ouwerkerk is dedicated to the 1953 disaster
and the Netherlands' battle against the water
and provides an interactive glimpse of the future.
(Holland's coat of arms against a pale blue background. On-screen text: This was a production of the Dutch Government.)