One fifth of the Netherland’s population and land exist below sea level.
Another 50% of the land also lies less than one metre above the sea.
The low-lying Netherlands are bordered by the English Channel and North Sea. Aptly, the southwest corner of the country is called Zeeland, or “sea-land”; a vast expanse of flat delta dominated by three main peninsulas. The reasons for this semi-aquatic landscape are twofold. One explanation is sea level; over tens of thousands of years, sea levels change with the Earth’s climate as more or less water is locked up frozen during ice ages. Now, the Earth’s oceans are at a level where the Netherlands barely peak through the sea, making them susceptible to flooding.
Secondly; many of Europe’s great rivers flow through the low-lands into the North Sea, such as the Rhone, Maas and the Scheldt.Each river widens into an estuary towards their mouth, some of which can be seven kilometres wide and 80 kilometres long.Flying at lower altitudes reveals how humans have manipulated the landscape to manage these waterways to protect their lands from flooding.