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The Netherlands

Episode 3 of 6

Coast ventures out to the man-made shoreline of the Netherlands. Nicholas Crane examines the great flood of 1953, and Tessa Dunlop learns about tulip mania.

Coast ventures out to the astonishing man-made shoreline of the Netherlands.

Nick Crane explores how ingenious Dutch engineers created massive coastal defences like no others on earth following the great North Sea flood in 1953 which killed thousands of people in the Netherlands and Britain.

Nick also discovers how, during the Second World War, traitors from the British Indian Army took part in the Nazi occupation of the tiny isle of Texel. This remarkable remote outpost in the far north of the Netherlands was later the unlikely site for the last battle in Europe of the Second World War, Nick investigates how the island fortress of Texel was torn apart by a murderous fight to the death between Soviet and Nazi soldiers in April 1945.

Tessa Dunlop is on the trail of 'tulipmania', the extraordinary trade in tulip bulbs that's said to have almost bankrupted the Dutch nation nearly 400 years ago. Tessa seeks the truth behind this cautionary tale of 'bloom and bust' that still haunts today's traders.

Mark Horton reveals the age-old skills that have made the Dutch the grand masters at creating new living space from the sea. Mark explores the greatest land-grab scheme of all, an audacious 40-year plan to wall off the sea and drain away the water from an area bigger than Greater London.

Adam Henson, himself a farmer, investigates why cows from the coastal plains of the northern Netherlands became the most sought-after milk producers in the world, and one of the most familiar sights in the British countryside. Adam discovers how in the 19th century, when British farmers went shopping for Dutch cows, these 'two-tone' Friesian cattle would transform Britain's green and pleasant pastures into a sea of black and white.

Miranda Krestovnikoff experiences how the Dutch delight in devouring raw herring as a seaside snack. Miranda also explores a strange man-made island that's become a natural paradise of shifting sand and home to migrating birds in the most remote part of the Netherlands.

59 minutes


Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:28

    Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

    Sing, Sing, Sing

  • 00:30

    Noah and the Whale

    2 Atoms in a Molecule

  • 00:33

    Freddie Phillips



Role Contributor
Presenter Nick Crane
Presenter Tessa Dunlop
Presenter Mark Horton
Presenter Adam Henson
Presenter Miranda Krestovnikoff
Executive Producer William Lyons
Series Editor Steve Evanson


  • Sun 19 Jun 2011 21:00
  • Tue 21 Jun 2011 23:20
  • Wed 22 Jun 2011 00:20
  • Sat 25 Jun 2011 16:30
  • Wed 20 Jul 2011 00:55
  • Tue 22 Nov 2011 19:00
  • Wed 23 Nov 2011 00:00
  • Wed 1 Aug 2012 19:00
  • Thu 28 Nov 2013 13:50
  • Mon 25 Jun 2018 13:00
  • Thu 31 Jan 2019 13:00

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