The present Eastern Scheldt is the result of a centuries-old struggle between man and the sea. The dikes of the (former) islands of Schouwen-Duiveland, Sint Philipsland and Tholen, North and Beveland and the dams of the Delta Works surround the water. The empoldering of salt marshes and abandonment of previously reclaimed land alternate continuously.


Up until the Middle Ages the Eastern Scheldt had relatively few rivers, which in the course of the centuries expanded into a mighty stream. Due to relocation of streams and poor dike maintenance, man was forced to retreat little by little and give up land. The country was repeatedly hit by floods. The last one was in 1953, after which it was decided to accelerate the implementation of the Delta Works.