The Netherlands is very flat and low lying. A large part of the country’s total area of 41,500 square kilometers is below sea level, which creates major challenges with regard to floods and floods. Dams, sand dunes and an extensive delta system, Deltawerken, along the coast protect the land from the sea.
The Netherlands forms the northwestern part of the northern European plain. The farthest south, in Limburg, reaches the northern edge of the Rhine slate mountains into the Netherlands, forming the highest point in the country (321 meters above sea level). In the southeast the river Maas cuts into a loose plateau, further north the Maas and Rhin arms flow Waal and Lek through extensive gravel and sand plains, which in the interior abut large areas with moraine ridges from the time the ice cover had its largest distribution in the Northwest -Europe (Veluwe, Het Gooi).
Northwest of Veluwe lies Overijssel’s and Drenthe’s moraine plateaus. These landscapes form scrubby but cultivable areas between the dune belt along the coast and the lower marshland. This is either just at sea level or up to 6 meters below and is protected by a duvet belt and by dikes. The back of dunes is continuous in the provinces of Zuid – and Noord-Holland, while the West Frisian Islands form the remains of the continuation further northeast, which was broken when the sea broke about 1300, flooded large areas and transformed Lake Flevo into the sea bay of Zuiderzee.
Within the dune ridge, the country consists mostly of marine deposits, with many dry lakes, the best known being Haarlemmer Meer. Belts of river marsh along the rivers. Within the archipelago in the north (Texel, Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and others) lies the Waddenzee (Wadden Sea), which is mostly dry at low tide. In 1932, the Zuiderzee was cordoned off with a ditch (Afsluitdijk) and transformed into the IJsselmeer lake and a number of polder areas.
South of the dune ridge, in the province of Zeeland, the large rivers form a branched delta area with many islands and peninsulas (Walcheren, Beveland, Schouwen, Goeree, Overflakkee). Here, the sea broke over the dikes in the 1953 flood disaster. After this disaster, greater work was started on regulation of the delta area to prevent further flooding, and to create new land for industrial areas, housing, agriculture, free land and more. In 1961 the first main ditch outside the archipelago was built, the last one was completed in 1979. Zeeland’s natural conditions have therefore been completely changed, including a number of new lakes.
In 1995, the Dutch rivers in the Rhine Delta, Lek, Maas and Waal experienced their worst flood in 42 years, and there was a time danger for the river banks to burst. About half the Netherlands is lower than the sea, and many of the dikes are more than 100 years old.
Climate in Netherlands
Weather conditions in the Netherlands are dominated by prevailing western air currents, which are characterized by the temperate Atlantic water masses. The country has a temperate rain climate which, due to the limited extent of the area and the small elevation variations, has a fairly uniform appearance. The humidity is relatively high, it is often cloudy and some wind.
The average temperature for January and February is around 2 ° C, in July and August around 17 ° C. The annual rainfall is approx. 700 mm distributed over the year, at least in the winter and spring. In some years the weather type is characterized by continental air masses, most typically this is in winter, which can then become cold.
Plant life and wildlife in the Netherlands
Of the Netherlands’ original vegetation, little is left. In the spirit areas there are still heather moors, ants and pine, birch and oak forests. Along the coast there is marsh and sand dune vegetation.
Many animal species, including Most larger mammals have disappeared in recent times. In addition to insect eaters, rodents and bats, rabbits, hares, foxes and some moths are common. Deer, deer, deer and badgers are found in the reserves and national parks. The West Frisian Islands have a significant population of seal species of cobwebs (3000) and oats (600). In total, 55 mammal species occur. More than 460 bird species have been observed, of which 200 are more or less regular nesting birds and 75 regular migratory and winter guests. Numerous sparrow birds, swans, geese, ducks and waders rest here during the migratory season or winter. Among the most conspicuous breeding birds can be mentioned whip, black-tailed spawning and avos. The world’s northernmost purple heron and shrub colonies. 13 species of reptiles, i.a. European swamp turtle, steelworm and archworm. Worm is the only poison snake.
Trench closure in the Netherlands. Due to the tide, the closing closure must be done quickly. Large concrete boxes are used which are towed in place, lowered and filled with concrete.