The Oosterscheldekering – by Ali

June 8, 2024

Hello all! Ali writing. We started and finished our day today in Rotterdam and I’m excited to tell you about it.

Rather than biking today, we took a train and a couple of buses out of Rotterdam to Neeltje Jans Delta Park, where the Oosterscheldekering, one of the storm surge barriers in the Netherlands and the largest in the world, is. Our commute was full of naps, music sharing, and, apparently, sneaky conversations (the sneaky conversations will make sense later 😉). 

When we arrived to Neeltje Jans (after a walk along a narrow pathway from the bus stop), we met with our tour guide and watched a film about Neeltje Jans and the construction of the Oosterscheldekering. The Oosterscheldekering is part of a series of construction projects called the Delta Works, which was a response to the devastating North Sea flood of 1953. 

Following the film, we entered an immersive 4D animation titled “The Delta Experience”, which showed us a recreation the flood of ‘53. Surrounded by swelling music and (very, very) loud thunder, we saw water levels rapidly rising as a house was destroyed a child struggled, and succeeded, to get to his family. It was emotional, and left some of us a bit shaken up.

After we finished these two films, we learned more from our guide about the planning and building of the Delta Works, then took a walk along the shore outside.

Before saying goodbye to our guide, we gifted him a bottle of maple syrup. He initially thought it was perfume for his wife, which was pretty cute. 

We had some leftover free time at Neeltje Jans, so we visited the waterpark (no swimming though 😞) and aquarium, I bought a puppet, and then we took our buses and trains back to Rotterdam. 

As we arrived back at our hostel, I ran to the bathroom since I’d had to pee pretty bad, which I think was convenient for Kris, Jess, and my classmates. When I came back downstairs to the lobby, I was greeted with a feather boa, birthday cake, a card, and all of my classmates and instructors singing Happy Birthday to me! The card was full of sweet notes from everyone, which I later learned were written while I was knocked out on the bus to Neeltje Jans. Do the sneaky conversations make sense now?

I’m thankful for all that we got to do today, and couldn’t be happier to have spent my birthday in the Netherlands with the people I got to meet from this class! I’m excited for more learning and laughs and experiences. To all my people at home—I miss you and love you and can’t wait to tell you all about my trip.

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