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The Blue Sluice
Zeedijk, 8340 Lapscheure [gps]
When you are walking through the nature in Lapscheure, you inevitably discover several historic places and buildings. E.g. fort St.-Job or the foundations of the old church etc. The Blue Sluice also is such a monument. Follow the Zeedijk and where the Lievegeleed (a small river) crosses the road, you cross the Blue Sluice. On the other side of the dike, lies the "Lapscheurse Gat", which forms the border between Belgium and the Netherlands. Standing on the dike, you have a marvellous view on the town of Sluis.
The Blue Sluice was built in 1746 on command of six water-companies: Zuid-over-de-Lieve, Noord-over-de-Lieve, de Broek, Stampershoeke, de Maldegemse Polder and de Sint-Jobspolder. Together they form a surface of 5228 ha. Where rainwater is being gathered along different creeks, discharging into the Blue Sluice, is lead onto Lapscheurse Gat into the Zwin. The Sluice has two shoots from 12,5 m. long, 2 m. large and 2,5 m. high. On the west side, the weapon of the Brugse Vrije is chiselled in the blue stone between the signs SP and QB (= Senatus Populus Que Brugii). Underneath you can read “De ses gheunieerde wateringhen” (= the 6 united watercompanies) This solid piece of art woud last forever.
Unfortunately, when the Southern Netherlands tore themselves off from the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1830, the Northern refused to let Belgian waters stream into the see over their territory. Result: floods. The new Belgian governement gave the order to dig the “Leopoldkanaal” (1850) diverting the water to the see in Heist. The Blue Sluice now looks deserted and sad. Fortunately, it was recognised as a historical monument by decree of July 30, 1976 and a few years later it was restored.
With thanks to Guido Vermeersch
© Hendrik De Leyn - www.damme-online.com