Water lines

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.

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What makes the Waterline so special

The old fortified city and military settlement of Utrecht was the logistics centre and headquarters of the New Dutch Waterline. You will also find a double ring of forts around Utrecht (from 1820 and 1880), complete with the wooden houses built in compliance with the so-called Kringenwet, or Circle Law, which set requirements for all structures within a certain distance of fortifications, and many concrete structures between Maarssen and Nieuwegein via Bunnik. Lastly, there is the main intake: the military sluice dating back to 1860 in the Lower Rhine at Wijk bij Duurstede and the sluice complexes at Vreeswijk. 

Discover the New Dutch Waterline in the Utrecht region


Various scenic cycling, hiking and canoe routes take you through the beautiful and open landscape of the Waterline, with mysterious forts featuring inviting outdoor cafés and museums along the way.

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The fortified town of Woerden was the headquarters of the water-based defence system. Most of the fortifications, gates, ramparts and walls have been dismantled and demolished and most of the inner canal has been filled in. 

Experience Woerden

Kromme Rijn and Lek region

The New Dutch Waterline and the Limes (the old border of the Roman Empire) cross the Kromme Rijn and Lek River region.

Visit Kromme Rijn and Lek region