GeoFort is located in Fort bij de Nieuwe Steeg, owned by Staatsbosbeheer, the Dutch forestry commission. The historic fort complex is an intriguing combination of bygone buildings and exciting outdoor areas. Its central position within the Netherlands, its geopolitical associations and the multifaceted character of the fort provide ample opportunity for exciting and fun activities which present to the world outside the country’s rich geo-past, as well as the impressive geo-innovations of today.
About the New Dutch Waterline
The Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie (New Dutch Waterline) was a military line of defence. The line was established as a protective ring approximately 85 km long and 3–5 km wide around the Dutch cities of Muiden, Utrecht, Vreeswijk and Gorinchem. It was the main Dutch defence line from 1815 till 1940.
The Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie’s primary element of defence was water. Land was intentionally flooded (inundated) during times of war to obstruct the enemy. A layer of water of only 40 cm deep, was enough to make the land difficult to pass for soldiers, vehicles and horses. At the same time, it was not deep enough to navigate by ship. By 1870, the waterline could be inundated within three weeks thanks to an ingenious system of sluices, dikes and flood canals.
Weak points along the natural defence line were strengthened with forts, bunkers and communal bunkers. In addition, the line included five fortified cities: Muiden, Weesp, Naarden, Gorinchem and Woudrichem.
Although the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie never had a chance to prove its worth as a line of defence, it was brought into a state of emergency three times. First in 1870, when the Franco–Prussian War threatened to turn into a European war. Second, during the First World War, and finally in 1939 when the Second World War broke out.