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Dutch Waterlines on World Heritage List

July 27, 2021

On 26 July 2021, the Unesco World Heritage Committee placed the Dutch Water Lines on the World Heritage List. The tender is an extension of the Defense Line of Amsterdam with the New Dutch Waterline. Both defense lines will continue as World Heritage 'Dutch Water Lines'.

Dutch Waterlines

The Hollandse Waterlinies form a defense system that extends over 200 km along the edge of the administrative and economic heart of the Netherlands. It consists of the New Dutch Waterline and the Defense Line of Amsterdam, World Heritage since 1996.

The system, built between 1815 and 1940, consists of a network of 96 forts, dikes, locks, pumping stations, canals and inundation polders, which together protect the Netherlands by applying the principle of temporary flooding of the land. It was developed thanks to the special knowledge of hydraulic engineering for defense purposes that has been preserved and applied by the Dutch since the 16th century. The flooded land was impassable, but too shallow to navigate. Each of the polders along the line of fortifications has its own inundation facilities. Nowhere in the world will you find a water defense line of this size, in such a well-preserved condition.

International recognition

Kathleen Ferrier, chair of the Dutch Unesco Commission, thinks the registration is a wonderful moment for our country. “A great achievement by all involved. We can be proud of this international recognition. But let's not forget that with the recognition comes a great responsibility: to take very good care of it. By registering, the Netherlands has committed itself to that goal internationally”.

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