Cycle route World Heritage | Dutch Water Defence Lines
Utrecht, Houten, Lunetten
Several waterlines can be discovered in the water-rich Netherlands. A waterline was set up as a defence of a certain area. A piece of land was partly flooded so you could not easily walk through it, but the water was just not high enough to sail on it. In this way, it was easy to keep the enemy at bay and water became an ally. The best-known water defence lines are the New Dutch Water Defence Lines and the Defence Line of Amsterdam. These two defence lines have been combined into one UNESCO World Heritage Site: the Dutch Water Defence Lines.
The lines stretch from Volendam where they run in an arc past Beverwijk, IJmuiden, Haarlem, Hoofddorp, Aalsmeer to Weesp. This is the former Defence Line of Amsterdam. This flows into the New Dutch Water Defence Lines, which runs from the Muiderslot in Muiden and all the way through Breukelen, Utrecht, Culemborg and Leerdam towards the Biesbosch. Together, they are more than 200 kilometres long! This cycle route introduces you to the 'forts epicentre' around Utrecht. Here, you will find many forts, works, batteries and castles from times gone by.
Start your route at the Waterline Museum at the Fort near Vechten, one of the highlights of the World Heritage Site. Here you will discover all about the Dutch Water Defence Lines. Not much further is the Fort near Rijnauwen, the largest fort of the New Dutch Water Defence Lines. Bats, badgers, deer and foxes now live in and around the nature fort. You can visit the fort with a guided tour or on special opening days. Alongside the fort is a fun hike for children: the Bunkerpad.
Along the way, you will come across many more forts. Sometimes this requires a slight deviation from the route, but since you can add them to the route as an extra node with a simple click, you don't have to look far. Meanwhile, the forts have taken on other uses besides defence. For example, they are now used as restaurants, museums or offices. Almost all forts are freely accessible, so put your bike aside and explore on foot!
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