The New Dutch Waterline
You will find them suddenly in the middle of the landscape: the forts that belong to the New Dutch Waterline. Together with embankments, locks, canals and bunkers, they form an ingenious system designed to protect the Netherlands from enemy troops during wartime. Dating back to 1815, this historic line of defence was designed to quickly inundate large tracts of land in order to stop the enemy. Unique in the world.
UNESCO World Heritage
The New Dutch Waterline is the largest defensive works in the Netherlands and in terms of cost and effort is a considerably larger project than the world-famous Delta Works. The Water Line is the largest national monument in the Netherlands and is nominated for UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
For decades, the area designated to be flooded was off-limits to development. This created an open landscape of nature, fields and meadows. An undiscovered area, filled with wonderful nature, where you can go for delightful bicycle rides and walks through the greenery, along waterways, charming villages and numerous museums. With always a new fort to discover.
There are plenty of activities to enjoy at the forts, citadels and castles, which are located just beyond the busy roads. With their vaulted rooms, old powder magazines and overgrown ramparts, the forts provide an authentic backdrop for theatre performances, film screenings, concerts, exhibitions and art shows.
Camping in a tent or a caravan on the banks of the fort's moat: the Water Line offers a wide range of overnight accommodation options from basic to luxurious.
There are various bicycle routes from fort to fort, as well as canoe routes and walking routes that go through the fields that could be flooded in the past. Ferryboats connect the routes.
Facts & figures
- served as the main defence for the Netherlands together with the Old Dutch Waterline for 268 years (1672 – 1940);
- 85 kilometres long;
- 45 forts;
- 2 castles and 6 citadels;
- approx. 600 bunkers, casemates and group hiding places.