The Netherlands is well known for the construction of its dikes and dams. The Roman historian writer Tacitus (ca. 56 – ca. 117 A.D.) already mentions the dikes that the rebellious Batavi pierced to flood their land in order to cover their retreat.
The modern word dike is most probably derived from the Dutch word "dijk", a natural or artificial slope or wall, usually an earth-filled dam and often parallels the course of a river. It originally means both the trench and the bank. The word is closely related to the English verb to dig.