Het Wassende Water | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2468-2187
  • E-ISSN: 2468-2195


Rising water. Deserted settlements in Holland after 1514

The abandonment of villages in Northwestern Europe between 1200 and 1400 AD is a much-studied subject. Little is known about the presence of this phenomenon after 1500 AD. In the historic County of Holland (more or less the western part of the Netherlands) evaluation of an old taxation document from 1514 showed that 7,5% of the villages and 15% of the hamlets present in 1514 had disappeared by 2018. Main reason is the slowly rising North Sea. Another cause is the destructive peat industry, which caused a steady and dangerous enlargement of inland lakes. The research also showed that smaller and economically weaker settlements have a higher chance to be left deserted. Cities, and traditional agricultural villages not close to the sea or big lakes, were practically immune to permanent abandonment in the last 500 years.


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