zondag 23 juli 2017
Map: North Sea Drainage Project (1930)
Some 10 millennia ago, during the last Ice Age, so much water was stored in huge polar ice caps that sea levels were 120 m lower than today. The North Sea consequently wasn’t a sea, but a land bridge between Britain and Europe. Geologists call this Doggerland, after the Dogger Bank, the shallowest, largest sand bank in the North Sea today. In all probability, this now sunken land land of once undulating prairie was quite densely inhabited by Stone Age humans. These must have been their hunting grounds, their prey the mammoths whose bones fishermen sometimes still dredge up from the sea floor.
In September 1930, there existed at least one wild plan to reclaim this particular piece of sunken real estate from the seas and increase the size of Europe by linking the British Isles to the Continent. The new one would be called…DOGGERLAND, ore maybe only in the pages of Modern Mechanix, an American magazine (1928-2001) that ran under a variety of titles.
Under the title 'North Sea Drainage Project to Increase Area of Europe', a caption reads:
“If the extensive schemes for the drainage of North Sea are carried out according to the plan illustrated above, which was conceived by a group of eminent English scientists, 100,000 square miles will be added to the overcrowded continents of Europe. The reclaimed land will be walled in with enormous dykes, similar to the Netherland dykes, to protect it from the sea, and the various rivers flowing into the North Sea will have their courses diverted to different outlets by means of canals.”
Conspicuously absent are the scientists’ credentials. The logistics of building a 450-mile-long dyke connecting Norfolk (England) to Jutland (Denmark), rising 90 feet above the sea level, seem daunting enough for our own age, let alone for the 1930s. A similar dyke at the North Sea’s south end, barely 150 miles long, would only leave Antwerp and London with direct sea access, depriving the whole of the Netherlands and much of Germany and Denmark of a coastline.