Els Slots (The Netherlands):
The "Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie" (New Dutch Defence Line) is on the (old and new) Tentative List as an extension to the Defence Line of Amsterdam. It is also a Defence Line based on inundation. At the north, it hooks up with the Defence Line of Amsterdam near Muiden. This Defence Line (1871) was developed to replace an older one that had been protecting parts of Holland. It incorporated the defence of the city of Utrecht. It is 85km long and still very visible and in good shape.
I visited a fortress at the southern edge of this Line: Loevestein. It encloses a castle that is well known in Dutch history: it is from here that the legendary escape of the imprisoned jurist Hugo Grotius inside a book case took place.
The fortress/castle lies in a very pleasant recreation area, especially on a sunny day like this. It sits on a strategic position at two main rivers, the Meuse and Waal. The castle is enclosed by a moat, then by the fortress and another moat. It attracts quite a lot of visitors, and I noticed that it is popular with foreign tourists too. It really is a peculiar construction, such a great defence work relying totally on the force of water. It often suffered from floodings itself too. The castle is made of connected tower houses and has only a tiny courtyard.
The area around it is now a protected landscape. There are bike paths and hiking trails. A good place to visit for a half day trip, with a very Dutch atmosphere.
Date posted: September 2011
Have you been to Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie? Share your experiences!