Discover the southern inundation zone
Follow the footsteps of significant monarchs and conquerors, and imagine yourself on a fierce battleground as friend or enemy between the water and forts. Discover the ‘Zuiderwaterlinie’ (Southern inundation zone), from Bergen Op Zoom to Grave. Five defenses, eleven fortresses, and 1001 stories. Start your adventure in the Defense of Willemstad.
Defending with water
Frontline, buffer zone, and battlefield. For centuries, the struggling powers changed the scenery of Brabant in an almost continuous battlefield. Out of fear for the enemy, the Republic of The Seven United Netherlands fortified the defenses on land in the South. Fortress builder Menno van Coehoorn united existing fortresses and boundary lines and flooded the area of Brabant. On intermediate, strategical points, he created earthen forts and bulwarks. Together, this formed the Southern frontier, which today is called ‘de Zuiderwaterlinie’.
Visitor centre Defense of Willemstad
4797 AB Willemstad
+31 168 755211
Visit the Defense of Willemstad
Protecting the estuaries that provided access to Holland. That was the primary responsibility of the Defense of Willemstad. Cannonballs in the walls, cannons on the quays. City walls, star-shaped dikes, forts, bunkers, and gunpowder storages. The famous history of Willemstad has left its marks. Going on an adventure by visiting the defenses of Willemstad and her historical fortifications, you will experience the history of both city and land in an area where water and wind still dominate.
From Bergen op Zoom to Grave
If the enemy came too close, the Republic flooded the land. This trick is called inundation. The Southern Water Frontier formed the longest connecting line of fortresses, forts, and inundation areas the Netherlands has ever known. Although ‘de Zuiderwaterlinie’ was not always that successful, it managed to endure rough times. Today, centuries later, whoever visits fortresses such as Bergen op Zoom, Breda, ’s Hertogenbosch, and Willemstad can imagine himself on the battlefield as friend or enemy, between water and forts.
Start your quest in the Mauritshuis’ Canon chamber. Press the red button that brings the room to life. In this extraordinary room, young and old will relive the entire military history of this historical place with her fortifications and forts.
After visiting the Mauritshuis, leave for a quest to find the five forts outside the city center of Willemstad. Standing on top of the well-conserved Fort Sabina, you can overlook the complete Defense of Willemstad! Curious to see other defenses and fortresses within the Zuiderwaterlinie, such as the fortress of Klundert? Download the information leaflet or plan your day out via our website.