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Post-WWII recovery changed the face of Walcheren

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

MIDDELBURG – The changes that resulted from World War II damage are still visible on the former Zeeland island of Walcheren. A recently published landscape map, Landschapsatlas van Walcheren, shows how much the island’s appearance was changed through the flooding of the island in 1944 when Allied bombs breached the sea dike. After WWII, a new landscape model was engrafted onto the old one. The small land parcel system with its meandering lines was modernized with more efficient and larger fields, without the remarkable hedges and wooded borders and winding country roads and trails. As part of this process, many of the mounds, called ‘vliedberg,’ were leveled as well. Walcheren’s re-allotment of farmland was organized according to landscape design, which was less intrusive than what had become the practice in other areas. As a result, Walcheren kept its own unique landscape identity, still quite different from, for example, the newly created Flevopolders.