The Beemster Polder
A "polder" is a tract of
land reclaimed from the sea by high embankments. In 1608-1612 the
Banestra Lake was drained under the direction of Jan Adriaenz
Leeghwater (1575-1650), a carpenter and hydraulic engineer and
dykebuilder. The lake was ten feet deep and was drained in one year
with 26 windmills. His portrait appears in the upper left-hand corner
of the souvenir sheet.
The background of the sheet is a map of the Beemster
polder after the lake was drained and the land surveyed. It is based
on the map Agri Biemstrani Descriptio by Petrus Kaerius,
published in 1617.
The stamp was issued in honor of Amphilex, the
International Stamp Show held in Amsterdam in 2002.
On February 1, 1953 a
combination of spring floods and heavy storms put large areas in the
south-western part of the country under water. This disaster, which
cost nearly 2,000 lives, underlined the urgency of completing the
Delta Project, the plan to construct a network of barriers closing off
the estuaries in the south west. with the exception of the New
Waterway and the Western Scheldt, which remain open to allow shipping
access to the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp, Belgium.
The Eastern Scheldt basin has been closed off by means
of a storm surge over 3,200 meters long. Normally the gates remain open
and permit the sea to flow in and out of the Eastern Scheldt; in
stormy weather they are lowered to protect the estuary from high water
levels. On October 4, 1986, Queen Beatrix officially marked the
completion of the Delta Project by opening the storm surge barrier in
the Eastern Scheldt.
The stamp, issued in 1972, shows the project as it was
expected to appear on completion.