What is the Hollandse Waterlinie (Dutch Waterline)?

Between 1816 and 1824 various forts were built around Utrecht

The first forts were merely earthworks surrounded by moats

Fort Hoofddijk was part of the Nieuwe Hollandsche Waterlinie (New Dutch Waterline)

The waterline was a 19th century line of defence. The idea was to flood the land with the aid of locks to halt the enemy. The Waterline was supposed to protect the large cities in the west of the Netherlands.

These forts were built on higher grounds and remained in use right up to the Second World War

If the land was flooded knee-deep, roads and ditches would no longer be visible. For attacking troops, who had to haul cannons and other large weaponry along, it would be virtually impossible to navigate the wetlands, on foot or by boat. The Waterline consisted mainly of areas of land that could be flooded, but this was not possible everywhere, and the forts were there to protect the flood defences and intake points that could not be flooded.

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