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Andries Vierlingh, Tracts on dikes 1576-1579

Edited by J. de Hullu and A.G. Verhoeven

Andries Vierlingh (c.1507-c.1579) was Bailiff at Steenbergen and held a variety of other public positions in the surrounding area, including that of dike-warden. At the end of his hardworking life, he wrote an account of his experiences in this report which, above all else, gives us an insight into the status of hydraulic expertise at the time and the activities carried out by the water authorities.

He had hoped to write five volumes but only managed to complete two. They deal with issues such as raising and maintaining mud flats, salt marshes, and summer polders, looking after dikes, constructing dikes and the social and technical problems involved, and carrying out related activities such as constructing locks. The third volume, which remains unfinished in the only surviving copy, deals with the maintenance of dikes, fixing any breaches in the dikes, and the construction of auxiliary dikes to replace weakened dikes. The author had planned to write two more volumes, which would have focused on damming rivers, building harbours, and floods.

This publication contains a general introduction as well as some prefatory remarks on the report’s merits from a hydraulic perspective. The edition ends with a glossary of hydraulic terms. A photocopied reprint of the RGP edition was published by the Nederlandse Vereniging Kust- en Oeverwerken (Rotterdam, 1973); a Dutch association of contractors who specialise in building dikes.