Technology in a hostile environment the case of cornelius vermuyden

Cruyningen, Piet Van


In the seventeenth century, Dutch water management technology was leading Europe. Dutch expertise was transmitted not only to countries around the North Sea, but also to the Baltic and to the Mediterranean coasts of France and Italy, often accompanied with Dutch capital. Dutch technology and Dutch capital made the reclamation of tens of thousands of hectares of land possible. The resumption of war in 1621 brought an end to the reclamation projects in the south-western Netherlands and after having worked as tax collector on his native island of Tholen for a while, Cornelis Vermuyden decided to try his luck in England. One of his cousins was ambassador there and he introduced Cornelis at court. Vermuyden became (in)famous through two huge fen drainage projects, those of Hatfield Chase on the Yorkshire–Lincolnshire border and of the Great or Bedford Level to the north of Cambridge.