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Biesbosch - National Park

De Biesbosch ('forest of sedges' or 'rushwoods'), is one of the largest national parks of the Netherlands and one of the last freshwater tide areas in Europe.

BiesboschThe Biesbosch consists of a rather large network of rivers and smaller and larger creeks with islands. The vegetation is mostly willow forests, although wet grasslands and fields of reed are common as well. The Biesbosch is an important wetland area for waterfowl and has a rich flora and fauna. It is especially important for migrating geese.

National Park
The Biesbosch National Park consists of the following major parts:

*  Sliedrechtse Biesbosch

The most northern part of the Biesbosch. This is the part of the Biesbosch with the most significant tidal influence (one of the distinctive characteristics of the Biesbosch). The Sliedrechtse Biesbosch is named after the town of Sliedrecht, which was drowned during the creation of the Biesbosch and was later rebuilt on the other side of the river Beneden Merwede (one of the borders of the Biesbosch). The eastern part of the Sliedrechtse Biesbosch is one of the few areas in the Netherlands that has an intact system of river dunes.

*  Hollandse Biesbosch

The westernmost part of the Biesbosch and the largest remnant of the (once much larger) South Hollandic part of the Biesbosch. The Hollandse Biesbosch is the part of the National Park best known for its birds.

*  Brabantse Biesbosch (Zuidwaard)

The eastern and largest part of the Biesbosch, which is separated from the rest of the Biesbosch by the Nieuwe Merwede river (which serves as the borderline between the provinces of South Holland and North Brabant). The Brabantse Biesbosch can be divided in three parts, from which only the so called Zuidwaard belongs to the National Park. The Zuidwaard of the Brabantse Biesbosch has fewer fields of reeds and sedges compared to the rest of the National Park and consists mostly of willow forests.

Creation
The Biesbosch was created when 300 square kilometres of polder lands were submerged in the St. Elizabeth flood in the year 1421. Before this, the area was called Grote Hollandse Waard, containing cultivated land and a number of villages. The more than a century old dikes collapsed because of lack of maintenance, due to the difficult economic situation in the area, and the difficulties between the political entities within (especially the Hook and Cod (civil) wars).

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