28 Oct 2022
 | 28 Oct 2022

Documentary evidence of urban droughts and their impact in the eastern Netherlands: the cases of Deventer and Zutphen, 1500–1795

Dániel Johannes Moerman

Abstract. Compared to other parts of Europe, very little is known about pre-instrumental drought periods in the Netherlands. Existing reconstructions are based primarily on data from England, France, and Germany, while more precise, local studies on drought and its impact are still absent. This article thus aims to further our knowledge of droughts in the Netherlands between 1500 and 1795, by focusing specifically on drought in an urban context to provide a more precise and local idea of the impact and severity of drought. The main case studies are cities in the eastern part of the country, Deventer and Zutphen. Both cities lay in relative close proximity to each other and share similar geological and hydrological conditions, as well as extensive archives that can be used to gather documentary data regarding historical drought periods. The three primary aims of the article are: 1) to examine the potential use of documentary data from the city archives of Deventer and Zutphen for historical drought reconstruction; 2) to establish droughts for both cities on the basis of the year, month/season in which they took place, as well as ranking the droughts according to the impact-based Historical Severity Drought Scale (HSDS) and 3) to compare the data from this analysis with that of other indices. In the end, the article strengthens the need to focus on documentary data from local case studies regarding drought, not only to provide more precise local reconstructions of drought-severity compared to regional studies, but also to take into account the long-term effects on urban waterscapes and the provisioning of fresh water.

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Dániel Johannes Moerman

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1141', Anonymous Referee #1, 24 Nov 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Dániel Moerman, 28 Jun 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1141', Anonymous Referee #2, 18 May 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Dániel Moerman, 28 Jun 2023
      • AC3: 'Reply on AC2', Dániel Moerman, 28 Jun 2023
Dániel Johannes Moerman
Dániel Johannes Moerman


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Short summary
This article provides a first look into the impact of drought in two cities in the eastern Netherlands from 1500 to 1795 on the basis of municipal records. It concludes that the impact of drought was sometimes similar but also different for both cities when focusing on specific aspects, such as water shortage and navigation. This strengthens the view that the impact of droughts could differ highly on a local level, which necessitates more emphasis on regional and local drought reconstructions.