Alternative History

A map of the Dutch Wastelands among the former cities of the Netherlands

The Dutch Wastelands (sometimes called the Holland Wastelands) is a geographical area created after Doomsday. It is a large swamp covered area located in the former Netherlands. Prior to Doomsday the Netherlands was a geographically low-lying country, with about 27% of its area and 60% of its population located below sea level. These areas were gained through land reclamation and preserved through an elaborate system of polders and dikes.

On September 26, 1983 the Netherlands and its neighboring countries were hit by several nuclear missiles. These completely destroyed several urban areas and killed millions. As a side effect several of the dikes and polders set up in these areas were destroyed as well, causing minor flooding in these areas. More serious and lasting however was the lack of manpower set up for maintaining Holland's drainage system. The drainage pumps, lacking fuel, skills and people to operate them, remained inoperative after Doomsday. Slowly these areas began sinking back into sea from which they came. After the attacks, the Afsluitdijk got destroyed, and flooded the IJsselmeer, now reverting it to a radioactive shallow version of the old Zuiderzee

Over the next few years almost half of the country began to fill up with brackish water, subsequently transforming the areas into radiation infested swamps prone to being flooded by the sea. Meanwhile plant life began to reclaim the area and cover the swamped cities and towns. Soon the only signs of past civilization left were crumbling ruins of former settlements halfway filled with water. There remain very few people who still live in these cities. Although a few nomads and reclusive inhabitants can be sporadically found living in the area, they number in the mere thousands in a region which once held over 10 million people.

Although located mostly below sea level Friesland escaped most of the flooding. In Friesland lack of manpower was not immediately an issue but fuel was quickly running out. A solution was found by once again using the old school method of keeping dry feet by using windmills as water pumps. Most old windmills, whether intended as pumps or not, were put to this use and many new ones were constructed. Though the lands are vastly wetter using these methods and only the higher lying ground can be used to raise crops, the lower lying lands are still much suited to keeping livestock.

In Groningen similar methods were used, but with much less success. Given the anarchic conditions that gripped the province at the time these efforts were much less coordinated, and thus less effective. This allowed the city of for great parts of the Groninger countryside to sink into swampland. The city of Groningen, though its northernmost quarters too have sunk into the swamp, came to be situated on a peninsula, only having a true land connection to the south into Drenthe. Because of this, life in the city deteriorated, and the city is largely abandoned.

Today the Dutch Wastelands are seen as a useless navigational hazard for travelers. Because of the widespread tidal flooding the Frisian island chain now extends up to the former border of Belgium. The Dutch wastelands are today claimed by the Netherlands Antilles, though no actual functioning government existed here until the 2010's.

Overhead image of the Dutch Wastelands (83DD)

Drone overhead imaging of Middelburg (2011)

The fate of the Dutch Wastelands remains uncertain. Although radiation levels have dropped they remain too high for safe rehabilitation at present, especially with continued radiation from the Rhine and Meuse rivers. Although there have been talks of eventual resettlement by the Netherlands Antilles, these remain minor and unofficial. Many in the Dutch diaspora began to despair that, barring major rehabilitation, the Dutch Wastelands would sink completely beneath the North Sea over the next few decades, becoming a shallow, irradiated bay of the North Sea.

However, the calls to begin remediating the homeland were finally answered, with the Antilles government constructing a military base in an area towards the south-west of the country, with the families of those who work there may allowed to reside there, with a maximum non-military population being up to 200, similar to Provisional Portugal. The entire base was completed by August 2010, with Queen Juliana II on hand to officially christen the new settlement, which she named "New Rotterdam." Between 2015 and 2020, the Kingdom set up two more small villages in the Dutch remnant lands, with the Queen again visiting to officially kick off the new settlements.

Starting in 2012, the Kingdom began to officially recognize representatives from the Dutch survivor regions as representatives in the Netherlands Antilles Parliament. These representatives are elected locally and then sail for the Caribbean to take their seats in the Parliamentary assembly.