During the occupation of the Netherlands the Germans made it impossible to carry out any maintenance work on our shores or any sounding, soil investiga tion or current-measurement work off the co ast, in the estuary of the Scheldt or in the channels between the Frisian Islands. The work ofDr. Johan van Veen, then leader of this survey, therefore came to astandstill. He then came to me and asked me to give him some task, so that he, an indefatigable worker, could continue to have work, the best antidote against the German poison, which affected only permanently unemployed men. I knew his love for the history of our traditional handling of the defence against the water. An all-round study had never been published, for in normal times a man with full knowledge of this type of work cannot find time for such a study, as water is our everlasting enemy, which must be kept under continual elose observation. From Dr. van Veen's book it will be elear that the Dutch manner of dredging, draining and reelaiming is a combination of traditions inherited from our ancestors and applied science to cope with modern demands. This tradition is in our blood. A more intimate knowledge of it will, I hope, furnish a kcy to so me of the salient points in our national character.