Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Charles W. Finkl, Christopher Makowski


  • Joost H. J. TerwindtEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-48657-4_249-2

Poldering is practiced for reclaiming arable land in many countries of the world in lacustrine, riverine, and coastal lowlands in areas with impeded drainage.

The art of poldering will be exemplified for the Flemish-Dutch-Northern German lowlands around the eastern shores of the North Sea. Poldering essentially consists of isolating a certain area by diking and improving the drainage of this area by expelling the surplus water. So poldering requires three major abilities: the art of diking, of drainage and of the discharge of surplus water.

The Art of Poldering in Medieval Times

The earliest diking and reclamation of peat areas was reported from around 800 AD. Monasteries and cloisters, being centers of knowledge, played an important role in the development of techniques and abilities for diking, poldering, and river training. The dikes were preferentially located on the natural levees of the creeks and rivers. Land reclamation required detailed local knowledge of the topography and...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Van der Ven GP (ed) (1993) Man-made lowlands. History of water management and land reclamation in the Netherlands. Matrijs, UtrechtGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical GeographyState University of UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands