One similarity between Seoul, the capital of South Korea, and Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherland, is the heavy influence of local water sources on their culture and city development. The difference is how they treated them. “God created the earth, but the Dutch created the Netherlands.” This famous Dutch proverb illustrated Netherlands’ land reclamation; Dutch fought with nature and won control. Seoul city chooses to coexist in harmony with the Han river. Han river, which runs through the middle of Seoul, divides the city into two: old and new city.
The history of Seoul dates back approximately 2,000 years as the capital of the Baekje, the ancient dynasty of Korea. The location of the city was chosen by the theory of divination based on topography which claims the best city location as three sides of the city wrap with mountains and one side with the river. In ancient times Han river worked as blockage of an enemy’s attack from the south. However, the city was never attached to the river in order to prevent flood damage. Every summer heavy rain and ocean water counter flowing flood the Han river and my ancestor choose to accept this nature rather than fight with it. Today there are multiple barrages placed on the bottom of the river to block the ocean water counter flowing thus preventing the flood.
In modern-day, the Han River is a place of recreation to the Seoul citizens. The citizens enjoy a variety of water sports on the river and two long parks along the river provide enough recreation space for all types of sports. There is national firework on the river every summer, and the citizens enjoy watching it while drinking and eating in the park. The river is not only a main recreational space but the main traffic passage as well. The high way along the river and the water taxis provide passage to all over the city.
By David Hyon