When is a disaster not a disaster? When you are on the silver lining side of the cloud!
Back in 1287 Amsterdam was a backwater fishing village on the wrong end of the large freshwater lake called the Zuiderzee. The prosperous towns in the Netherlands lay on the river Vlie where the lake discharged into the North Sea. Out there they could trade with the Germans, the Danes, the English, the French, the Norwegians and the Swedes.
On the night of St Lucia Day a North Sea depression set up a storm surge on top of a high tide. On the 14th of December 1287 the sea smashed through the dunes and the boulder clay, obliterating the river Vlie and the towns on its banks. The sea then surged into the lake and converted it to a salt water lagoon. Some 50,000 to 80,000 Dutch and Germans died in the floods.
Backwater Amsterdam woke up to find itself positioned perfectly on a huge natural harbour with access to the North Sea. By 1303 the village on the Amstel river had become a City. It is today the most populous City in the Netherlands.
The Flying Dutchman (First Verse); by John Boyle O’Reilly
Long time ago, from Amsterdam a vessel sailed away,
as fair a ship as ever flung aside the laughing spray.
Upon the shore were tearful eyes, and scarfs were in the air,
as to her, o’er the Zuyder Zee, went fond adieu and prayer;
and brave hearts, yearning shoreward from the outwardgoing ship,
felt lingering kisses clinging still to tear-wet cheek and lip.
She steered for some far eastern clime, and, as she skimmed the seas,
each taper mast was bending like a rod before the breeze.