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Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie, historic Dutch military floodplain system



Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie image from Wikipedia

The "New Dutch Waterline" was a system engineered and regulated to flood a military zone across the country in the event of war. Its purpose was to isolate the densely-populated western provinces and establish a national refuge.

A sophisticated arrangement of dikes, canals and apparati stood ready to flood an 85-kilometer line too deep to charge, too shallow to navigate. In areas where flooding was impossible due to elevation or infrastructure, a series of forts defended against intrusion.

This Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie was new relative to the Oude Hollandse Waterlinie, and a refinement on the concept. Begun after the fall of Napoleon, it was able to pass to the east of Utrecht, one of the principal cities.

Although deployed in 1939 , the military floodplain was no longer an effective deterent during World War II. When the Nazis bombed Rotterdam in 1940 and forced a Dutch surrender under threat of greater airborne destruction, it became clear that prevention of ground movement was no longer adequate as a defense tactic.

Many of the forts of are popular nature reserves harboring unique assortments of animals, birds, and great varieties of plant species brought in by seed in the great amounts of sand carried from hither and yon.