the voice of the water,
telling of endless disaster,
is heard and feared
Map above: areas affected during the 1953 floods
You can see some 24 images about this tragedy clicking here.
"Yet, every Dutch heart still misses a beat when, with a storm on the way, the radio news announces limited dyke surveillance. "
the extract above is from the book "The Low Sky, Understanding the Dutch (The book that makes the Netherlands familiar)"; by Han van Der Horst, chapter II "Utilitarian", page 99. One of my ever favourite books about the Netherlands.
A very beautiful Dutch film made in 2009 is De Storm, a fictional story within the historical context of the 1953 flood. Plot: when her farmhouse is destroyed by the flood, teenage mother Julia gets separated from her baby boy, whom she kept hidden in a box. She is saved from drowning by a young air force lieutenant, who agrees to go help looking for Julia's little son. A near-hopeless quest ensues. If you wish to know more about the 1953 flood tragedy and this important part of Dutch history then I highly recommend you to watch this film.
I have mentioned before in this blog that I live in a village with lots and lots of islands, and children use to swim in the canals during spring and summer time. My oldest child was always attracted to water, boats, bridges and that makes me VERY nervous. Even when we are with him in the swimming pools of hotels or my parent's swimming pool in Brazil my heart misses a beat (or two).
Up to last year, everytime I used to invite a child to play with my son the mother asked me whether I lived "nearby water" and informed me that her son "...didn't have the diploma A yet". I informed that no, I didn't live near a body of water and... what is this story of diplomas ? "It is a swimming certificate. He cannot swim properly yet", they added.