“Netherlands” Means Low-Lying Lands


Interesting Facts in Easy English

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • accustomed to: used to
  • tirelessly: without tiring; for long hours
  • surge barrier: man-made protection built to keep the sea from flooding onto the land
  • valve: a device that opens and shuts; changes the direction of fluid

“Netherlands” Means Low-Lying Lands

Did you know that the word “Netherlands” means lands? The Dutch are accustomed to , because much of their country is located below sea level. They have worked tirelessly for hundreds of years to become experts at flood protection. The first dikes were built over 2,000 years ago. Windmills were added to pump water off the soil. These early efforts did little to save lives when massive storms . In 1953, a major storm hit the Netherlands, killing close to 2,000 people, and causing a major blow to the economy. The government decided to by pumping a lot of money into the construction of flood protection devices. Dams were dug in the river mouths, and a massive, moveable surge barrier was built. The barrier is normally left open, but valves can also be closed to create of a dam during a storm. The North Sea Protection Works is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

Comprehension Questions

  1. What does the word “Netherlands” mean?
  2. What happened in 1953?
  3. Why does the report mention windmills?

Discussion Questions: Do you think these types of man-made barriers will protect the Netherlands from future storm surges resulting from global warming?

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