Christmas Flood (1717)

During the night of Christmas, 1717, the coastal areas of the Netherlands, Germany, and Scandinavia were hit by a severe north-western storm. It is estimated that 14,000 people died. It was the worst flood for four centuries and the last large flood to hit the north of the Netherlands.

In the countryside to the north of the Netherlands, the water level rose up to a few metres, and in the city of Groningen, up to a few feet. In the province of Groningen, villages that were situated directly behind the dikes were near enough completely swept away. Action had to be taken against looters, who robbed houses and farms under the pretence of rescuing the flood victims. In total, the flood caused 2,276 casualties in Groningen. 1,455 houses were either destroyed or suffered extensive damage. Much livestock was lost.

The water also poured into Amsterdam and Haarlem, as well as in the areas around Dokkum and Stavoren. Over 150 people died in Friesland alone. Large sections of Northern-Holland were left under water, as well as the area around Zwolle and Kampen. In these areas the flood only caused material damage. In Vlieland however, the sea poured over the dunes, almost entirely sweeping away the already-damaged village of West-Vlieland.