Because large parts of the Netherlands are below sea level, the Dutch have been fighting the water for as long as we can remember. However, water is not the only enemy of our country. In times of war, water became a welcome ally and the nation’s best line of defence. The Dutch caused intentional inundation using Holland’s largest secret weapon: the Dutch Waterline. In contrast to the Old Waterline of 1672, the new one (from 1885) was never fully inundated. After World War II the Waterline no longer played a prominent role in the areas defence and was quietly forgotten. The ‘line’ was established as a protective ring approximately 85 km long and 3 – 5 km wide around the Dutch cities of Muiden, Utrecht and Gorinchem.
Present and future
The ‘line’ today offers many possibilities for tourism and recreation. Every fort on the ‘line’ has a different use. For example, forts are now used as campsites, wine cellars, museums, restaurants & nature reserves. We aim to develop the Waterline as a coherent network of commercial activities that ensure the preservation of cultural historic values and are capable of maintaining the many man-made elements of the Waterline and keeping them in good condition.
In 1999, the nota Belvedere formulated the national policy on preserving cultural heritage. Credo is: preserving through development. The New Dutch Waterline is one of the largest projects mentioned in the nota and the only national one. Protection of the qualities of the Waterline is also guaranteed in sectorial national policy as national spatial planning and nature conservation planning. In 2000, a Steering Group and the Project Office were set up to implement the National Project New Dutch Waterline. The Project Office is the executing bureau and falls under the responsibility of the Government Service for Land & Water Management (DLG).
Partner Contact Information
Address: New Dutch Waterline National Project, Post Office, Box 406 3500, AK Utrecht