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Lock complex 'De Ganzenpoot' (Goose foot)

The outlet locks enable the low polders to dispose of the superfluous water, whereas the locks are regulating the water level of the canals in favour of the shipping traffic. The doors of the outlet locks are closed at high tide; at low tide they are opened to conduct the superfluous water to the sea. The proper locks are used for locking of the ships.
The channel is connected with not less than six different traffic- and/or draining directions via the "Ganzepoot". From north to south we consecutively have:
The Nieuw Bedelflock : a small drain channel from the polders
The Gravensluis: the canal Nieuwpoort-Plassendale opens up towards the eastern coast
The Springlock: the cove of Nieuwendamme is a former meandering course of the IJzer and guarantees drainage of the Nieuwlandpolder
The Ieperlock: the present IJzer
The Veurne-Ambachtlock: the canal is connected with the Noordvaart and the Sluikvaart. It regulates the drainage of the polders of Ramskapelle and built an important link during the flooding in 1914 giving a decisive turning to the First World War (see further down).
The Veurnelock: the canal Nieuwpoort-Dunkirk opens up towards the western coast and builds a connection with the North French port towns.
In the past this lock system of Nieuwpoort, because of flooding, protected repeatedly the town against the attacks and occupation by foreign armies. The French and German invaders experienced it personally the hard way.
The flooding in 1914: on 4th August 1914 all hell has broken loose and the flat roller of the German emperor Willem II rolls into our country. King Albert I made a tragic appeal to defend to extremes the last remaining patch, bordered by the IJzer and the Ieperlee, and backed by the sea. This line of defence held out thanks to an ally, carried by the IJzer in its own bed and on which Nieuwpoort could appeal already often in the past: the water! The supervisor of the northern waters, Karel Cogge, from Veurne, knows the hydraulic network of small channels, brooks and drain channels exchanging their water with the IJzer via the locks of Nieuwpoort; and the bargee Hendrik Geeraert from Nieuwpoort, knows how and where to handle the material. The water rises, bursts its banks and floods the plain: the enemy is obliged to withdraw. Here, the front will remain stabilized till the triumphing final offensive in 1918.



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