Stormsurge 1509 - A Dutch-German project on cultural history
The 500th anniversary of the Cosmas- and Damianflood on September 26, 2009 was the occasion to remember that five centuries ago, due to dike breaches and floodings more than 30 villages and homesteads were lost in the peat land South of the city of Emden. As a result, the Dollard, an embayment in the Ems estuary, reached its largest extent. The course of the river Ems changed, with far-reaching consequences for the trading city of Emden.
Also in present times the inhabitants of the Dollard region have to deal with threats by storms and sea level rise as symptoms of global change, making the historic facts of actual significance.
Symposium (September 19, 2009 – Leer, Germany)
In cooperation with the universities of Oldenburg and Groningen a symposium was organised dealing with the history of the Dollard. Historic and archaeological data were presented to document the development of this embayment in relation to natural processes (e.g. storms) and human habitation and land use (e.g. dike construction, peat extraction). Presentations were given in Dutch and German. The purpose of the symposium was to contribute to the awakening of regional populations’ consciousness concerning their cultural history and its significance in present day life. The symposium was held in the Ubbo Emmius Gymnasium in Leer and attended by ca. 110 people.
For on-line publication of the symposium proceedings click here for the Dutch version.
Commemoration meeting (September 26, 2009 - Pogum (D) )
To commemorate the Cosmas- and Damian flood of 1509 there was a meeting in the church of Pogum in the morning. Two speakers provided insight into the history of storm floods and coastal defence in general, and into the dramatic history of dike-breaches and lost villages in particular. Also a monument was unveiled.
Dollard Event – A light for each village (September 26, 2009)
In commemoration of the villages and people that suffered from the historic flooding of the Dollard an evening program was presented at the port of Emden (D), near Pogum (D) and near the sluice of Nieuwe Statenzijl (NL). The culmination of the commemoration was the highlighting of 15 of the once flooded villages – inside and around the present Dollard - by skybeamers.