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Schokland and Surroundings

Schokland and Surroundings

Schokland was a peninsula that by the 15th century had become an island. Occupied and then abandoned as the sea encroached, it had to be evacuated in 1859. But following the draining of the Zuider Zee, it has, since the 1940s, formed part of the land reclaimed from the sea. Schokland has vestiges of human habitation going back to prehistoric times. It symbolizes the heroic, age-old struggle of the people of the Netherlands against the encroachment of the waters.

Schokland et ses environs

Tour à tour occupée et abandonnée au gré de l'avance des eaux, Schokland, presqu'île devenue île au XVe siècle, dut être évacuée en 1859. Grâce à l'assèchement du Zuiderzee, elle appartient depuis les années 1940 aux terres conquises sur la mer. Avec ses vestiges de présence humaine remontant à la préhistoire, Schokland symbolise la lutte sans équivalent menée par les Néerlandais contre l'eau.

شوكلاند وضواحيها

لما كانت شوكلند تُحتل ومن ثمّ يُهجّر سكّانها بسبب ارتفاع مستوى البحر، وبعد ان كانت شبه جزيرة وأصبحت جزيرة في القرن الخامس عشر، اضطرّ أهلها لاخلائها في العام 1859. وبفضل تجفيف "الزويدرزي"، فهي تنتمي منذ الأربعينات الى الأراضي المحتلة على شاطئ البحر. ترمز شوكلاند التي لا تزال تحتوي على بقايا وجود بشري يعود لما قبل التاريخ، الى كفاح الهولنديين الذي لا مثيل له ضدّ الماء.

source: UNESCO/ERI

斯霍克兰及其周围地区

斯霍克兰曾是一个半岛,15世纪时变成了独立的岛屿 。由于海水的侵蚀,有人居住的岛屿被遗弃,1859年居民被迫撤离。但随着须德海的干涸,20世纪40年代起,海洋中的一部分领土又重新归属于斯霍克兰岛。岛上遗留着的史前时代人类的遗址,象征着荷兰人民与海水侵蚀进行长期抗争的英勇行为。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Район Схокланд

Полуостров Схокланд к XV в. в результате наступлении моря превратился в остров. Ранее обитаемый, но постепенно оставляемый людьми, он полностью лишился населения в 1859 г. После осушения залива Зёйдер-Зе район Схокланд, начиная с 1940-х гг., стал частью земель отвоеванных у моря, т.е. польдером. Схокланд символизирует давнюю борьбу народа Нидерландов с наступающим на сушу морем. Здесь обнаружены следы проживания человека, начиная еще с доисторических времен.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Schokland y sus alrededores

En el siglo XV el avance del mar convirtió la península de Schokland en una isla. Poblada y paulatinamente abandonada a medida que las aguas la iban inundando, la isla tuvo que ser totalmente evacuada en 1859. Gracias a la desecación del Zuiderzee, en 1940 pasó a formar parte de las tierras ganadas al mar. Este sitio posee vestigios de asentamientos humanos que datan de los tiempos prehistóricos y es un símbolo de la lucha secular de la población de los Países Bajos contra la invasión del mar.

source: UNESCO/ERI

スホクラントとその周辺

source: NFUAJ

Schokland en omgeving

Het schiereiland Schokland werd in de 15e eeuw een eiland. Door de dreigende overstroming van de zee moesten de bewoners het eiland regelmatig verlaten, en het moest definitief worden geëvacueerd in 1859. Vanwege de inpoldering van de Zuiderzee (IJsselmeer) werd het vanaf 1940 weer een deel van het land dat herwonnen werd op de zee. Op Schokland vindt men sporen van menselijke bewoning die teruggaan tot de prehistorie. Het symboliseert de heldhaftige, eeuwenoude strijd van Nederland tegen het opdringende water. Schokland is met zijn omgeving een uitstekend voorbeeld van de prehistorische en historische bewoning van een typisch waterrijk natuurgebied.

Source: unesco.nl

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Schokland and Surroundings © Robert G
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

The struggle of the people of the Netherlands against water has endured, for more than six thousand years, and still continues today; without constant vigilance, more than half the present area of the country would be entirely submerged or subject to periodic inundation. Schokland was a peninsula that by the fifteenth century had become an island. Occupied and then abandoned as the sea encroached, it had to be evacuated in 1859. Following the impoldering of the Zuider Zee, however, it has formed part of the land reclaimed from the sea since the 1940s. Schokland has vestiges of human habitation going back to prehistoric times. It symbolizes the heroic, age-old struggle of the people of the Netherlands against the encroachment of the water. As a result of the colossal reclamation programme that began in the early years of the 20th century, Schokland and the settlement mounds and other human interventions that surround it stand as mute testimony to the skill and fortitude of the Dutch people in the face of this never-ceasing natural threat.

The contours of the former island of Schokland above the flat lands of the reclaimed Noordoostpolder are still easy to trace in the topography within the former island — there are four large village terps, all of them protected archaeological sites. A fifth such site includes traces of Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements.

The remains of dykes and terps located outside the present island reflect the former contours of the island and the land that has been lost over the course of time. Also located outside the present island, but within the boundaries of the World Heritage property, are more than 160 archaeological sites with remnants of prehistoric occupation. A church and church ruins, residential and commercial buildings, barns, a former harbour, and land division patterns (both old and new) go to complete the story of Schokland.

The area provides exceptional evidence of a cultural tradition of island-dwellers threatened by the water and ultimately evacuated; the first residents on the land reclaimed from the sea cultivated and developed that new land. The area is an exceptional example of a traditional type of settlement and land use that is representative of cultures, primarily when these have become vulnerable due to the influence of irreversible change.

Criterion (iii): Schokland and its surroundings preserve the last surviving evidence of a prehistoric and early historic society that had adapted to the precarious life of wetland settlements under the constant threat of temporary or permanent incursions by the sea.

Criterion (v):Schokland is included in the agricultural landscape that was created as a result of the reclamation of the former Zuider Zee, part of the never-ceasing struggle of the people of the Netherlands against the water and one of the greatest and most visionary human achievements of the twentieth century. The history of this region is excellently represented in this small area, with its settlements, cemeteries, terps, dykes and parcel systems.

Integrity

Despite having been part of the new man-made landscape since 1942, as an inland island used for large-scale agriculture, the contours of the former island are still clearly visible, with heritage remnants such as dykes and terps. The whole island and its immediate surroundings are included in the World Heritage property. Vestiges of all phases of the settlement history of Schokland are clearly recognisable: the traces of prehistoric settlement in the ground, the four terps on the eastern side of the island, the buildings on the island itself, the characteristic recent system of land division of the polder, and the green areas along the edge of the island.  Without an appropriate management regime, dehydration and modern agriculture could threaten the area and cause damage to the archaeological deposits.

Authenticity

The authenticity of the site resides in its very existence. The nomination dossier was subtitled “symbol of the Dutch battle against water,” an apt description of Schokland and its authenticity. There are at least 152 sites in and around Schokland where the remains of prehistoric settlements, dykes and terps have been discovered. Together, these reflect the former contours of the island, the land that has been lost over the course of time and due to the living conditions over a period of 6000 years. The island itself is still entirely authentic. Vestiges of the earlier buildings on the former island remain in the form of the Dutch Reformed church and the adjoining minister’s house (1834) and a much-restored boathouse for an iceboat in Middelbuurt. All the other buildings were demolished after the evacuation in 1859. The wooden buildings in Middelbuurt housing the Schokland Museum, are replicas  of buildings and barns in the traditional Zuider Zee style from about 1980. In Oud-Emmeloord, the lighthouse keeper’s house (1882) and the foghorn house (about 1921) have been preserved. Some of the surviving features have been reconstructed, for example the harbour basin in Oud-Emmeloord with its jetties and ice aprons, the pile walls in Middelbuurt, and the foundations of the old beacon at the terp at the southern extremity. Sections of the foundations of the churches at the southern extremity have been restored. The church in Middelbuurt has been fully restored and given (nonoriginal) furnishings. A specialised company restored the church ruins using original materials. The harbours, the breakwater, and the lighthouse have been reconstructed according to the currently applicable legislation.

Protection and management requirements

Schokland and Surroundings comprises five protected national archaeological sites (four terps and an area with traces of prehistoric settlement) and five listed buildings, namely the lighthouse keeper’s house and the foghorn at the Oud-Emmeloord terp at the northernmost point, the former Dutch Reformed church and the boathouse for an iceboat in Middelbuurt, and a ruined church at the southernmost point of the former island.

Since 2002, a hydrological buffer zone has been constructed on the east side of the island so as to prevent subsidence of the island and damage to the archaeological record in the soil due to groundwater depletion. The government has also bought up more than 200 hectares of agricultural land and terminated production there.

The municipality of Noordoostpolder became the site holder in 2010. Actual management, based on a management plan, is in the hands of the Flevo Landscape Foundation [Stichting Flevolandschap] and the municipality of Noordoostpolder. Besides management by the Flevo Landscape Foundation and the municipality (together some 500 hectares), the area is also used by the owners and tenants of agricultural land. In all cases, this use is intended to preserve the various features but at the same time to generate economic returns. The management plan is the result of specific agreements and administrative measures. The plan comprises specific tasks and responsibilities regarding preservation, management, and access of/to the Schokland World Heritage property and its surroundings. The management plan also makes clear the division of roles for these parties regarding management and preservation. The management plan is therefore a widely supported document which presents a shared view of the area and serves to unite all the parties involved, regarding concrete activities, organisation and finances. It also provides an integration framework for assessing the implementation of projects and ideas.

One of the most important projects for the parties involved concerns the continued monitoring of the state of conservation of archaeological sites in the area surrounding the former island. Due to soil subsidence there is a strained relationship between agricultural use of the land and the conservation of the archaeological remnants. Since 2012, all parties strive to define a second hydrological buffer zone at the southern tip of the former island, involving another 200 hectares of land.

The Dutch government intends to designate the World Heritage property Schokland and Surroundings as a protected conservation area under the 1988 Monuments and Historic Buildings Act [Monumentenwet 1988]. 

Long Description

Schokland and its surroundings is an outstanding example of the prehistoric and historic occupation of a typical wetland, especially in relation to the reclamation and occupation of peat areas. It is precisely because of these occupation and reclamation activities that large areas of land were lost. The formation of the Zuyder Zee itself can also be considered to be a result of these historic activities. Schokland is the last vestige of a once much larger area of occupation, excellently represented in this small area, with its settlements, cemeteries, terps (man-made settlement mounds), dykes and parcel systems. Continuing agricultural mechanization and the dehydration of deeper levels constitute a constant threat to the quality of the cultural and organic remains.

The soil in this area consists of coversands, an ice-pushed ridge of boulder clay, Pleistocene river dunes, and Holocene sediments, including the buried course of the Overijsselsche Vecht River and its tributaries. A post-Pleistocene rise in sea level resulted in an increase in peat formation and a corresponding decrease in the surface area of sandy soils. The earliest evidence of human presence in this area, as revealed by archaeological excavations, dates back to the late Palaeolithic period.

At the beginning of the 13th century, strong marine influences in the Almere were beginning to have an impact. At this time Schokland was still connected to the mainland by a peat ridge stretching to the south-east, which means that this area has to be considered as a polder, until around 1450, when the ridge eroded and Schokland became an island, like neighbouring Urk, which had been one since the 12th century. The distribution of terps and dykes from this period shows that land was being lost, much of it during storms such as that recorded in 1170.

A number of the terps lying to the east of the island were abandoned around 1400, work beginning on the creation of new terps at Oud Emmeloord, Middelbuurt and Zuidert. This was accompanied by a change in the economic basis of the communities from agriculture to fishing. At the same time the Almere was transformed into the Zuyder Zee. This loss of land and battle against the sea continued throughout the succeeding centuries, with the main losses being incurred on the west and north of the island. Protection became too great a burden for the local population, and so financial help was provided by the provincial council of Overijssel by means of a shipping tax, largely because of the importance of the fire beacon on the Zuidpunt. In 1710 Holland and Friesland gave additional financial support because of their economic reliance on the shipping routes that this beacon served. In 1660 Amsterdam, then the world's major port, obtained possession of Urk and Emmeloord and assumed the responsibility for their maintenance. During this time the four terps on the island were heightened and extended, using clay, manure, reeds and seagrass; the remainder of the island consisted of wet meadowlands.

Despite all these measures, the dykes and revetments were unable to prevent further inroads during the 19th century. The stone dyke designed to protect the entire island, construction of which began in 1804, proved too weak to provide continuing protection, because of the subsoil on which it was built, and storms and drifting ice regularly destroyed sections of it. The income of the inhabitants who remained on Emmeloord, Middelbuurt and Zuidert from fishing decreased steadily, and so it was decided to evacuate the island, which took place in 1859. Only a handful of buildings, including the church on Middelbuurt, were not demolished, and were used as service buildings for coastal defence work throughout the following century. Schokland's role was that of a breakwater protecting the coast of Overijssel and as a refuge for shipping. Following the passing of the Zuyder Zee Act in 1918 and the three subsequent acts designed to regulate its reclamation, the Noordostpolder in which Schokland is located was the second to be reclaimed. The last gap in the surrounding dyke was closed in December 1940 and the polder ran dry in 1942. Schokland, which had been an island for some five centuries, became part of one of the largest cultural landscapes of the present age, the IJsselmeerpolders.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

The earliest evidence of human presence in this area, as revealed by archaeological excavations, dates back to the Late Paleolithic period (c 10,000 BP), with visits by hunter-gatherer communities, which increased in the succeeding Mesolithic period. permanent occupation is witnessed by settlements, cemeteries, and agriculture during the Neolithic period and Early Bronze Age (c 4200-1800 Be); however, this occupation was not continuous, being interrupted by transgression phases when the inhabitants were forced by rising waters to leave the area.

There is little evidence for later settlement until CAD 1000, when drainage of the peat around Schokland began, the water being drained into the freshwater basin of the Almere; pottery finds indicate that the island was completely reclaimed by c 1300. However, drainage of the peat and tilling of the land caused the peat layer to oxidize and shrink, resulting in sinking of the ground surface and increasingly wet soil conditions. TO overcome this problem small, low dykes were built to keep drainage water out Of the drained area: some of the outermost of these can be dated to the end of the 12th century.

At the beginning of the 13th century strong marine influences in the Almere were beginning to have an impact. At this time Schokland was still connected to the mainland by a peat ridge stretching to the south-east, which means that this area has to be considered as a polder, until around 1450, when the ridge eroded and Schokland became an island, like neighbouring Urk, which had been one since the 12th century. The distribution of terps (man-made settlement mounds) and dykes from this period shows that land was being lost, much of it during storms such as that recorded in 1170.

A number of the terps lying to the east of the island were abandoned around 1400, work beginning on the creation of new terps at Oud Emmeloord, Middelbuurt, and Zuidert. This was accompanied by a change in the economic basis of the communities from agriculture to fishing. At the same time the Almere was transformed into the Zuyder Zee. This lOSS of land and battle against the sea continued throughout the succeeding centuries, with the main losses being incurred on the west and north of the island. Protection became too great a burden for the local population, and so financial help was provided by the provincial council of Overijssel by means of a shipping tax, largely because of the importance of the fire beacon on the Zuidpunt. In 1710 Holland and Friesland gave additional financial support because of their economic reliance on the shipping routes that this beacon served. In 1660 Amsterdam, then the world's major port, obtained possession of Urk and Emmeloord and assumed the responsibility for their maintenance. During this time the four terps on the island were heightened and extended, using Clay, manure, reeds, and sea-grass; the remainder of the island consisted of wet meadowlands.

Despite all these measures, the dykes and revetments were unable to prevent further inroads during the 19th century. The stone dyke designed to protect the entire island, construction of which began in 1804, proved too weak to provide continuing protection, because of the subsoil on which it was built, and storms and drifting ice regularly destroyed sections of it. The income of the inhabitants who remained on Emmeloord, Middelbuurt, and Zuidert from fishing decreased steadily, and so it was decided to evacuate the island, an act which took place in 1859. Only a handful of buildings, including the church on Middelbuurt, were not demOlished, and were used as service buildings for coastal defence work throughout the following century. Schokland's role was that of a breakwater protecting the coast of Overijssel and as a refuge for shipping.

Following the passing of the Zuyder zee Act in 1918 and the three subsequent acts designed to regulate its reclamation the Noordostpolder in which Schokland is located was the second to be reclaimed. The last gap in the surrounding dyke was closed in December 1940 and the polder ran dry in 1942. Schokland, which had been an island for nearly five centuries, became part of one of the largest cultural landscapes of the present era, the USSelmeerpolders.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation