Jun 1, 2006

Hans Brinker, call your office

An EU directive will flood farms in the Netherlands.
Some 230 years after its flat pastures were wrested from the waters, the de Feijters' farm -- their home for 33 years -- is to be reflooded to reverse the disappearance of Zeeland's mudflats and salt marshes.

For the family -- raised in a province that owes its very existence to dike systems dating from the Middle Ages -- the plan is "un-Dutch."

Breaching dikes is behavior associated with invading armies, Mr. de Feijter said.

Flooding a "polder," as land enclosed by a dike is known, "has always been an act of war," he said. "In the Second World War, they did it."


The final decision must be ratified by parliament next year, but chances of a reprieve look slim. Dutch officials support the project, part of a scheme to reflood 1,500 acres of land on the banks of the Western Schelde estuary.

In any case, the officials have little say in the matter. The reflooding has been imposed by the EU Habitats directive and the EU Birds directive.

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