Last Wednesday, I visited The Flood Museum in the Netherlands. Did you know that 26% of my country lies below sea-level? And that almost 60% of it would flood in case of, well, a flood or heavy rainfall?
Guess what happened in 1953… A hurricane at sea caused waves over 4.5 metres high to crash down on the lowest parts of the Netherlands. Countless dykes, which we have always been so proud and fond of, broke, giving way to the water.
This happened twice in 24 hours: once during the night and then again the next morning. Of course, the storm also created loads of rain. Result: thousands and thousands of casualties.
So far, not a lot of heart warming going on, right? Well, here’s the thing: walking through the museum, I first read a story of a marine officer who, in the late evening, was searching for survivors in a flooded town. He came across a horse who had gotten stuck, but the officer couldn’t help the animal for his boat was too small. He said his apologies and moved on.
Feeling bad for the animal, though, he went back to base camp, got a bigger boat and hours later managed to save the poor horse after all, despite being exhausted from searching and rescuing people for two days straight ❤
Now, if that didn’t warm your heart, here is something that surely will: after finishing the part of the museum that explained about the flood, I entered the section that covered the Big Build-Up that happened afterwards.
If ever I lost faith in humanity, seeing this huge poster with all the countries listed that helped mine out during that excruciating time really made me feel proud to be human. Not only were we sent food and clothing, but also a lot of volunteers, Jeeps, boats and even houses! So many strangers helping each other out… It left me speechless. In a good way.
So this week’s Heart Warmer is the list of countries who helped the Netherlands out after the flood in 1953. I see it as a symbol of just what extraordinary kind of actions we are capable of as humans. If only we put our minds (and hearts) to it!
And it happens again and again, as countries are struck by natural disasters or sometimes unnatural catastrophes. We bond together and help carry the burden. Because, I guess, that’s what humans do ❤
If you’d like to find out more about the 1953 North Sea Flood or the Flood Museum, go here (English).