GORINCHEM – In Gorinchem East, Dalem and Boven-Hardinxveld is a true exodus of people who - often with the necessary household goods - look for a safe and dry refuge. By tomorrow both places must be cleared.

Yesterday the people in Gorinchem-Oost were told that the area must be cleared by tomorrow.

read more: High water also leads to evacuation Gorinchem-Oost and Dalem

There are trucks in almost all streets, moving vans and trailers crisscross each other. Numerous people have flown in to assist with the sudden move. Not a single hand is wasted.

People pack things for the evacuation. Foto: Regional Archives Gorinchem

"I'm scared", says one of the residents in the "disaster area" to a reporter from Radio Rijnmond. “When you see everyone like that packing up, then it scares you. ”

Further down the street, a man and a woman discuss whether or not to take a particular box. “It has to be unpacked first, because there is glassware in it ”, the woman says.

"Auxiliaries’ during the eviction of Gorinchem. In the background you can see how high the water is. Foto: Regional Archives Gorinchem

Traffic chaos

In the course of the afternoon there was a traffic chaos with all kinds of vans, wagons and trucks trying to get out of the city. The municipality had already closed certain roads, to avoid the chaos yet got bigger, but those measures do not seem to help very much.

Some of the evacuees remain quite close. Many people have found shelter in the western part of Gorinchem.

Busy on the Newtonweg in Gorinchem, during the evacuation. Foto: Regional Archives Gorinchem


People in Boven-Hardinxveld have also been told to leave. The village is located in a polder between the Kanaal van Steenenhoek and the Merwede. And especially the dike at the Steenenhoek Canal is weak. Cracks would even have been seen. The dikes have already been reinforced with sandbags in several places.

Should the dike breach, then there is no possibility around the 4.500 to get residents of Boven-Hardinxveld away in time. And thus decided the mayor Van Wouwe of Hardinxveld-Giessendam, that head over heels had returned from a holiday in Austria, to clear this area.

The Mobile Unit keeps an eye on the end of Rembrandtstraat in Hardinxveld-Giessendam. Foto: W. van der Pijl

The mayor is not fully appreciated for this decision. Many residents of the lower Upper Hardinxveld, had already taken up residence with acquaintances, for example in dike houses, because they "would certainly stay dry one hundred percent". And now they still have to go.

These people therefore get it from the mayor 24 extra hours to pack their things, but at your own risk.

Still, not everyone plans to leave.

“We are eighteen in the house. The ME has to drag us away one by one. ”

(resident Boven-Hardinxveld, Het Parool, 02-02-1995)

It will be exciting tomorrow evening, because a spring tide is expected with an associated water level of 6 meters above sea level. Normally the level in the river is half a meter above sea level.

Hoe ging het verder?

The Mobile Unit certainly had to take action a few times, because not everyone intended to leave.

A day after the mandatory evacuation, the flag was already released carefully. It looked like the dikes would hold.  But the danger is not over yet. The dikes are soaked and can still collapse.

A week after the eviction had started, the people are allowed going home again (06 februari).

Residents of Boven-Hardinxveld are welcomed after the evacuation. Foto: W. van der Pijl

Politics The Hague has been shaken up by the problem. The first dikes will be reinforced within a year, including at Gorinchem. Money will also be released for the 'Room for the River' project, where areas were designated who were allowed to walk under water, if the water level is very much again came high. That project is finished 2018 rounded.


RTV Rijnmond – Vergeten Verhalen – The Disaster that was not a disaster

Het Parool – 02-02-1995 – If the ME doesn't help, than the village doctor

The evacuation of Boven-Hardinxveld - Ewoud Klop

Radio Rijnmond - 30-01-1995 – 02-02-1995 - Various news broadcasts

A look back at Radio Rijnmond on the eviction (from 2015)

Author: Dave Datema

published: 30-01-2020

story number: 140