For the past 2000 years, the inhabitants of the Netherlands have often had to cope with flood disasters. The name 'Netherlands' gives a clue to the problem: 'Nether' means 'low'. It literally means 'The Low Countries'. When a storm develops and the wind stirs up the waves, the Dutch coastal area can become flooded. The last time this happened on a large scale was just over fifty years ago. Almost 2000 people died following the flood disaster of 1953. The following pages describe why this disaster occurred, what exactly happened, and what was done afterwards to prevent it from happening again.