New Dutch Waterline
Discover the Netherlands biggest secret
This system of dikes, sluices, canals, forts and bunkers can be hard to distinguish in the landscape in times of peace. Therein lies the secret of the Waterline: it is there alright, but you can’t see it!
The New Dutch Waterline is a defence line that spans 85 kilometres. The line starts at Muiden and ends at the Biesbosch and is 3 to 5 kilometres wide. It consists of 45 forts, 6 fortified towns, 2 castles, 85 machine gun casemates, over 700 concrete troop shelters and casemates as well as more than 100 military sluices and water engineering works. The New Dutch Waterline is the largest National Monument in the Netherlands.
The New Dutch Waterline has been given a new, peaceful function. Nowadays it is a beautiful green and open area with exciting buildings and a variety of possibilities for recreation. There are many special activities for visitors in the forts, as well as in the fortified towns and castles. Here, history comes to life.
Water was our ally
Between 1815 and 1940, the New Dutch Waterline made it impossible for the enemy to reach the West of the Netherlands. Water was our ally. In times of war, the military could flood broad parts of the surrounding landscape. The knee-deep water prevented soldiers, vehicles and horses to reach their goal. At the same time it was much too shallow for boats to sail across.