Maaike Ouboter - Dat ik je mis
On this day in Dutch history,
On the 16th of January 1219 and 1362, two terrible floods happened. These floods are known as the First and Second Saint Marcellus Flood, as the 16th of January is the nameday of Saint Marcellus.
The First Saint Marcellus Flood hit large parts of the north of the Netherlands and the north west of Germany. This storm surge was especially disastruous since, after the storm, the water level didn’t go down with the tide, and with the following flood tide the storm increased again. This caused most of the remaining dykes to break after all. It is estimated that about 36,000 people died.
There were four major floods in the Netherlands during this time, one in 1170, one in 1196, one in 1214 and then this one in 1219. This combination of floods led to the creation of the Waddenzee and the Zuiderzee, which later became the IJsselmeer when the Afsluitdijk, which connects Noord-Holland and Friesland, was created.
The Second Saint Marcellus Flood hit during the night of the 15th of January, continuing on the 16th of January 1362. This flood hit all countries bordering the North Sea, including Britain, Germany and Denmark. It is estimated that 25,000 to 40,000 people died. Chroniclers in Germany reported that the water levels were 2,4 meters above the dykes, and at least eight parishes completely vanished. In the Netherlands, dykes on the coastline broke and large areas were flooded. The second Saint Marcellus flood is also known as the ‘Eerste Grote Mandrenke’, the First Big Drowning.
On this day in Dutch History
On the 11th of January 1942, Japanese troops invaded the Dutch East Indies by landing on the island of Sulawesi.
The Netherlands had declared war on Japan on the 8th of December 1941 as a response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese troops quickly invaded the other islands of the Dutch East Indies as well, as the Dutch East Indies were a strategically useful place for the Japanese, as it had oil.
The Netherlands had been conquered by the Germans by that time. The Dutch government was in London but only had limited power. The defences in the Dutch East Indies were not as optimal as they could’ve been, which made conquest easier for the Japanese. The main defence force of the Dutch East Indies was the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army, which consisted of 30,000 men, who were spread across the islands. While they fought back, the Japanase were able to conquer the Dutch East Indies in a matter of months.
On the 5th of March 1942 the Japanese entered the capital, Batavia, and on the 8th of March, the Dutch forces surrendered. The Dutch East Indies were now Japanese property. Most members of the Dutch minority were put in POW camps, both whites and those of a mixed ethnicity.
Before World War II, many Indonesians already wanted an independent Indonesia. At first, some of the locals supported the Japanese troops, but it soon became clear that Japan wasn’t going to give them an independent Indonesia either. Japan wanted one united and strong country. Soon, a lot of the locals were put to work under terrible conditions, not unlike the forced labour the Dutch POW suffered from. Both groups worked, amongst others, on the Burma Railway.
The Burma Railway is also known as the Death Railway and runs between Bangkok in Thailand and Yangon in Myanmar.