Marsdieperwaard

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Following the current trend of the Batavian Kingdom, Holland has joined with Friesland in construction of new polders, but rather than reclaiming areas of islands as has been done in the Frisian Islands Project, the government of Holland has chosen to further reclaim part of the Waddenzee to the Holland mainland.

History

Although planned since completion of the Wieringermeer during the end of the Second Great War, the Marsdieperwaard has been caught up in ecological concerns, not excluding the desire for the inhabitants of Wieringen to again be an island. Political wrangling throughout the 1960's and 70's lead to a compromise stating that should plans for the Marsdieperwaard ever go forward, steps would be taken to widen the Amsteldiepkanaal into a lake called the Wieringerrandmeer, thus making Wieringen an island very near the coast, albeit surrounded by the mainland.

View of the Marsdieperwaard site in 2001

This desire had largely faded by 1990 when Nikolaas Kleermaker, a fellow student of Dangel Hickstra approached the Hollandish government, suggesting that plans go forward for the Marsdieperwaard. An environmental study was undertaken, reviewing the effects of creating a new polder near existing land. Because of the proposed timeline, Kleermaker rescinded his request to chair the project and threw his hat in with Hickstra, overseeing the creation of the island of Grienderland.

Following the extensive environmental study the Hollandish government saw no better choice than Kleermaker, and approached him to be the chief architect of the project. Kleermaker, having assisted Hickstra's team in the creating of Grienderland was well suited to the project and has begun the groundwork.

The first groundwork for the new dikes was to be laid in the Waddenzee in July 2006, but was delayed until late August. Work proceeded furiously despite winter storms, and will continue through the coming years. Current construction estimates suggest that the new Polder will not be ready for habitation until sometime around 2017, however the process is finalizing.

Artist's conception of the new Marsdieperwaard.

Supporters of returning Wieringen to its former status of an island have been few, and laws in Parliament have failed in support of this measure. As a result, Wieringen will be completely encircled by Holland, and will remain a part of the mainland.

Two major communities are planned for the infrastructure of the Marsdieperwaard, as well as a large port complex to rival Rotterdam, in an effort to attract more of the Hanseatic League's business. The Marsdieperwaard will also have a great deal of nature preserves, and is projected to have a minor aerodrome to support the aerodromes of Den Helder up the coast.

The plans also will create a smaller island on the east coast of the polder, which was not named in the original planning documents. The honor of naming this new island fell to Her Majesty, Queen Béatrice d'Orange, who called it Balgerland. The major communities were named shortly there after, with the central commune being called Balgzand, and the southern commune being called Van Ewijcksdorp.

Construction

The new dikes and storm gates have been installed along the northern edges; the dikes to be built closer to the mainland were not completed until August 14, 2010. Drainage began the next day with an official ceremony where HMH Béatrice started the pumps, draining the polder. Mechanical failure in the pumps partially stopped the drainage on September 3, 2010, but were resolved on September 15, 2010.

Drainage completed early in June of 2011. Remediation has continued since that time, as has road building for the new communes. Full habitation is expected by 2020.

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