On this day January 31, 1953

A North Sea flood causes over 1,800 deaths in the Netherlands and the associated storm combined to create a major natural disaster which affected the coastlines of the Netherlands and England on the night of 31 January 1953.

Zuid-Beveland, 1953

Zuid-Beveland, 1953

Belgium, Denmark and France were also affected by flooding and storm damage. A combination of a high spring tide and a severe European windstorm caused a storm tide.

In combination with a tidal surge of the North Sea the water level locally exceeded 5.6 metres above mean sea level. The flood and waves overwhelmed sea defences and caused extensive flooding.

Officially, 1,835 people were killed in the Netherlands, mostly in the south-western province of Zeeland. 307 were killed in the United Kingdom, in the counties of Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. 28 were killed in West Flanders, Belgium.

Further loss of life exceeding 230 occurred on watercraft along Northern European coasts as well as in deeper waters of the North Sea; the ferry MV Princess Victoria was lost at sea in the North Channel east of Belfast with 133 fatalities, and many fishing trawlers sank.

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