DE BEEMSTER, Netherlands (AP) _ UNESCO has recognized the age-old Dutch battle against the sea as an important international cultural development by including a piece of land reclaimed in the 17th century on its world heritage list.

De Beemster, a 28-square-mile area just north of Amsterdam, was added to the registry during a two-day meeting in Morocco this week of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Persistent Dutch engineers and builders completed the polder, a low-lying plot of reclaimed land, in 1612 using a complicated system of dikes to protect the area from the sea. The first attempt to build it had been demolished by flooding.

Home to about 10,000 people, De Beemster was praised by UNESCO as an important historic development in the way people work and live with water. The organization called it ``a masterwork in innovative architectural landscaping.''