Christianity bringing civilisation, the inhabitants ameliorated their condition by embanking the land around their huts. Their dwelling on the knoll or pol naturally formed the centre of the reclamation, and this led them to give to the whole the name of polder (plur. polders1).
At first only small tracts of land were enclosed, and many polders still cover only a few acres. Larger polders were gradually formed by combining smaller ones. (The original boundaries can often be traeed). At last, emboldened by success, broader surfaces were embanked at one time.
3. THE CONSERVANCY BOARD (Polderbestuur).
By and by the Netherlands lowlands were covered by the present complete system of polders 2). These still boast their time-honoured administration, presided over by a Dijkgraaf (lit. Count of the Dike), while the other members of the board are called Heemraden (lit. Homestead Councillors)
The Conservancy Board not only looks after the hydraulic conditions of the polder, but often takes charge of the roads Sometimes seemingly incongruous tasks are laid on its shoulders — last vestiges of conditions obtaining in a period when no other political bodies were known on our soil. Even the choice of a Dominee (Protestant parish minister) is subject in some polders to the approval of the Board.
4. DRAINED LAKES — Droogmakerijen) — lit. dried lake or pool; the word lake or pool, which completes the sense, being dropped.
These are the most interesting polders from an engineer's point of view. They are generally drained peat-pits, often of considerable area.
As fuel was always scarce in Holland, the inhabitants
In the sequence the Netherlands plural will be indicated by brackets.
2) A vivid description of Netherlands polders and their products is given by Mr. J. W. Robertson Scott, in A Free Farmer in a Free State. London, W. Heineman, 1912.