The Biography of the New Land

CLUE and Nieuw Land Heritage Centre (2009-2016)


Image project Biography of the New Land Since the construction of the Afsluitdijk (1927-1932), the appearance of the Zuiderzee area has continuously been subject to change and the area has constantly faced different historical perspectives.

Traditions of living and working at sea, and the existence attached to this in the Zuiderzee villages, were (partly at least) transformed into a thing of the past. The memory of that past has eventually been handed down in the shape of monuments, literature, photography, oral history and – last but not least – museums.

The Zuiderzee works, in contrast, have grown into an important icon of national identity and of Dutch water management history. New inhabitants built a new livelihood in the polders, where community and landscape gradually fused into one distinctive region with its own history, identity and potential for development.

The aim of the research programme ‘The Biography of the New Land’ is to further reinforce the coherence and applicability of scientific research into the history, development and heritage of the IJsselmeer region. The research programme contains several broad historical themes and two additional studies that are specifically aimed at translating historical knowledge into current social applications.

Research themes

The research programme consists of 5 subprojects:

  • Subproject 1
    History of perception and management of flood disasters in the Zuiderzee region.
  • Subproject 2
    Ancestors in the polder? The biography of the new land and its representation in science, culture and policy. (2009-2014)
  • Subproject 3
    The substratum of the New Land. Concepts and instruments for sustainable management and presentation of a super archive for climate change, landscape formation and human habitation.
  • Subproject 4
    The administrative design of heritage management in a fragmented administrative system.
  • Subproject 5
    The regional identity of the New Land: economic opportunities for development for the heritage of town and country. (2009-2014)