2019 Advent Calendar – December 14: Amsterdam, Netherlands

For December 14, we have decided to leave the Sahara desert and head to Europe and more precisely to the city of Amsterdam, the famous capital of the Netherlands.

The satellite image shows different urbanization forms that have developed along the North Sea Canal, built between 1865 and 1876 to enable vessels to reach the Port of Amsterdam.

Main harbour and industrial area of the city, the port is located in the north-western part of Amsterdam. Fourth busiest port in Europe, it comprises several harbour areas and docks that can be clearly seen on the satellite image.

Further south is the city of Amsterdam, a much more urban environment criss-crossed by many canals forming a “spider’s web”, some of which are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Agricultural areas are very present all around the city. The mixture between urban and rural landscapes is quite striking on this image, particularly with the contrast between grey buildings in cities and green agricultural areas.

Dutch water fact 😉 Almost a third of the Netherlands lies below sea level, with the lowest point being nearly 7 meters below sea level, while Amsterdam is situated around 2 meters below sea level!

Why does this country partly lie below sea level? The Netherlands are famous for their polders and land gained over the sea. The traditional polders have been formed from the 12th century onwards, when people started creating arable land by draining delta swamps into nearby rivers. In this process which extended over centuries, soil levels lowered, up to river and sea water levels and then much lower. This development resulted in the creation of present-day polder landscapes below sea level.

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