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Frisian lakes after two centuries under Frisian control again

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

LEEUWARDEN Ė The Dutch government recently reversed a Napoleonic decree that had put lakes in the province of Friesland (Frysl‚n in the Frisian language) under central, national authority two hundred years ago. The reversal took effect retroactively to January 1, 2009, and closes a file which was opened in 1957 when the province first requested self-control of the lakes which cover an area of 9,300 hectares. Although the French were staunch proponents of democratic rule, Napoleonís decree regarding the lakes was rather autocratic and arbitrary. The province now has control over the fishery and miniature islands in the lakes and can also decide on its own if any parts of the mainly shallow lakes require dredging. The lakes are a very important part of Frieslandís identity and contribute a great deal to water sports and tourism.