Cornelis Lely Statue

Cornelis Lely at the Afsluitdijk

Cornelis Lely at the Afsluitdijk

We were making our way back to the after exploring the open area of the Afsluitdijk. Where the car park is there is another statue this one dedicated to Cornelis Lely. Cornelis Lely is the man who made all of these possible. He is an engineer by profession but was also appointed to be the Minister of Transport and Water Management. From his brain came the idea of the Zuiderzee Works. The idea was to dam a portion of the Zuiderzee and reclaim land for the use of farming. He obviously pushed for his own plan and eventually made the whole thing possible.

Cornelis Lely Looking Out to the IJsselmeer

Cornelis Lely Looking Out to the IJsselmeer

The Afsluitdijk was only part of the plan. After the Zuiderzee was dammed, this made it possible to start reclaiming land from the former seabed. This meant that the IJsselmeer shrunk as a result of this reclaiming since the land reclaimed from the sea was not small. Perhaps the shape of the land here made it easier to construct such a structure, but I think it still takes a lot of guts to propose something like that and, you know what, it actually worked. The dammed portioned became a freshwater lake and plays a huge part in the water management of the country up to this day.

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