The Dike Breach of 1624
On the other side of the water, in the wall next to the bridge, you will see this memorial stone. The stone reads “DE HOECTE VAN DE LECK 1624” and indicates the height of the water level during the flooding of the Lek in that year. However, the stone is not in its original place.
The Lekdijk from Amerongen to Vreeswijk (the Lekdijk Bovendams) was always a problem because of the weak peaty subsoil. As a result, there was constant subsidence. The dike was of great importance, as it separated waters with differences of several meters which would cause the river water to flow rapidly to the lower areas of South Holland and Utrecht.
Due to drifting ice on January 1, 1624, the dike broke at ‘Het Waal, near the Oudslijkerveer, hectometre post 274/275', now on the village of Tull en ‘t Waal, municipality of Houten. It was not until 14 September that the tender for a final dike repair took place. The disaster was huge.
From documents of the States of Holland:
“The water flooded all countries north and northwest to Schoonhoven, Gouda; but around the Kopierskade, near Alphen, Koudekerk, and Woerden it was dammed up, so that there was great misery, with fleeing, as otherwise, so that with time it came to Amstelland and the Veenen, so that the locks within the city of Amsterdam could be seen unlocked and without a lock, inside and outside equally high and out of level; the lands outside were all submerged, so that she showed her as before the dikes, when Holland with the sea mean lay.”
Text accompanying illustration:
Closing the dike breach at ‘t Waal in 1624 after a painting by Jan Both.