The inundation of Wieringermeerpolder in 1945
On April 17, 1945, just before the liberation of the Netherlands from the Germans, the Wieringermeerdijk was blown up by the retreating German army to prevent air landings. The water from the IJsselmeer flowed into the Wieringermeerpolder and more than 20,000 hectares of agricultural land was lost. The Wieringermeerpolder had only been reclaimed from the sea 15 years earlier. 7,000 residents and 1,000 people in hiding fled from the polder to dry soil. The havoc was enormous. More than 80% of the buildings, the entire spring harvest and almost all agricultural implements were completely destroyed. Two storms on April 20 and May 40 caused a lot of extra damage. A major disaster for the already undernourished population of the West Netherlands during the war.
After the explosion, the inhabitants of the Wieringermeerpolder not only sought refuge outside the polder, but also in various places in the polder, such as on the mound in Wieringerwerf, a large reclaimed sand plain of approximately four hectares, intended as a refuge in the event of a flood.
The Netherlands was liberated on 5 May 1945. 190,000 hectares of soil had now been inundated. Walcheren (16,000 ha) and the Wieringermeer were given priority by the government with regard to the repair work. Preparations for the repair of the dike started on 24 May and the dike was closed again on 5 August. Four days later, the dike was made strong enough to start draining the polder. On December 11, 1945, the Wieringermeer dried up again and the repair of roads, bridges and driveways could begin. On April 1, 1946, 229 families again lived in the Wieringermeer . Because the flooding concerned fresh water and not seawater, the harvest of 1946 and 1947 was as before.