Last edited 28 May 2021


Polders are low-lying areas of land which are surrounded by physical barriers such as dykes or berms so that the groundwater level can be artificially controlled.

Drainage systems such as ditches and canals take water to the perimeter of the polder. Polders are commonly used in the Netherlands where the land is beneath the mean sea level. Historically, polders were maintained by windmills, which pumped out excess water. Pumping stations can be also used to drain water. Polders can be created near a river or sea for easier drainage.

Ground conditions can have an effect on what types of structures are built. In the Netherlands soils are generally clays, sandy clays, peaty layers and mineral soils. In coastal areas, groundwater is saline because of sea water intrusion. (Struyfuz and Stuurman, 1994).

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