Nordstrand Flood of 1634

[Name spellings often mislead us. Nordstrand can be spelled Noortstrant. It depends on whether one like German or Dutch, and one must keep in mind, spellings change over time. In English it would be spelled North Beach. So, one can research the family history of Volkie Jurrianse Van Noortstrant and remain mindful of alternate spellings.] 

The Nordstrand Flood of 1634 was a wallapalooza,

Moreover, it was a moment that change the course of lives for Volkertje "Volkje" van Noortstrant formerly Juriaens aka Van Hoesen and her husband to be, Jan Franszen (van Husum) van Hoesen.

This flood written about by contemporary and modern chroniclers covers the massive tide surge which swept the island of Nordstrand and many of the coastal villages, including the town of Husum. It is often referred to as the second flood because an earlier flood in 1362. Today, the islands of this area are known as the North Frisian Islands, and they are off the western coast of the north German province of Schleswig-Holstein.

Nordstrand, Joan Blau 1650, detail
The devastated island of Nordstrand in 1650,  much of it underwater, as shown by the shaded areas. Husum appears at the right edge of the map. Image from Wikipedia.

In the evening hours of October 11, 1634, a flood swept over Nordstrand and inundated the coast destroying 20 parishes with 19 churches, 1,332 houses and 30 mills. Of the reported 15,000 deaths, more than 6,000 people on Nordstrand alone were killed. Three who survived the night of terror, included Jan Van Husum, a teenage Volkje VanNordstrand, and her sister Annetje.  Volkje's parents were killed by the storm. Nothing is know about Jan Van Husum's family.

Some of the survivors rebuilt. Eventually, Jan and Volkie would make their way to Amsterdam and then to the New World. The rest is history.

In time I hope to write a little bit about the history, trying to understand its impact on both Jan and Volkje. For now, I will just direct you, gentle reader, to several sources which document the flood and its devastation.

The best online source is Cor Snabel's story of the Nordstrand flood of 1634. The flood which Cor Snabel writes about is also known by other names including:  the Burchardi flood, and also the Great Mandränke (Human Inundation) or Second Mandrenke, and finally, St. Pauli-Bekehrungsnachtflut (St. Paul's conversion night flood) of 11 October.

The best book on the subject is Die Erschreckliche Wasser-fluth 1634, written in German by Andreas Reinhardt, 1984.

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