De Biesbosch by boat: unforgettable scenery
and spectacular nature
For reservations please call +31 (0) 183 501 633
De Biesbosch is the result of a combined play of water, nature and man. In this inaccessible area – a great hiding place during the war – willow cutters, reed cutters, bulrush workers, hunters, decoy-men, and farmers on remote farms earned a mere pittance. In 1970, this age-old culture disappeared because the tides ceased to exist. Nature had free play and some polders were turned into fresh water basins.
The Groote of Zuidhollandsche Waard (Great or South Holland Polder) was a prosperous area in the Middle Ages, in which agriculture, fruit growing, peat cutting, and salt production were the main means of existence. The area must have looked like the Krimpenerwaard or the Alblasserwaard in the 19th century: lots of water and small farming towns along river dikes and working routes in the polder, but also the occasional castle. During the night of November 12th in 1421, the St. Elizabeth’s Flood changed this area into a 30,000 hectare (74,000 acre) inland sea. The already 150 year-old surrounding dike failed in the southwest – near where the Moerdijk bridges are situated nowadays – at several spots. As a result of this flooding an estimated sixteen towns vanished.
Assisted by later dike failures near Werkendam, the river water was able to find a shorter way back to sea. Salt water was pushed back to sea and the area changed into a fresh water tidal area, the only one of its kind in Europe. Because the sea and river supplied many clay and sand particles after the St. Elizabeth’s Flood, the land beneath the sea level had gradually risen. After a while the land was dry during low tides. Growth opportunities for plants were the result. The first plants to grow were bulrushes. The original name of the area, Bergsche Veld, became out of use and the popular name had become Biesbosch (Bulrush Forest).
Since 1421, the Biesbosch has gone through a remarkable development as far as the landscape is concerned. This development was influenced greatly by man. During the seventies, man once more interfered with the landscape rigorously. The construction of the Haringvliet Locks (part of the Delta Works) meant that tides disappeared from the Biesbosch.Text from: www.biesbosch.org
Photo’s: Marco de Paauw