Starting point Fortress city Gorinchem
Around the old center of the city on the Linge and Merwede is the city wall that is crossed by so-called denominations and the preserved Dalempoort from 1597. Small bastions (protruding parts) in the wall are characteristic. An explanation is given on information panels at the city wall. A walk around the high wall is recommended.
On the east side is a defensive moat with a few ravelins (islands) and a second rampart with large bastions from the time of the Old Dutch Waterline (OHWL). The Korenbrug lock with bulkhead barriers in the Lingehaven and a few stone bears (retaining walls between inland and outside water) also date from the time of the old water line (1672-1816).
In the Disaster Year 1672, the French attackers were unable to do much around Gorinchem. The so-called fortress triangle of Loevestein Castle and the fortified towns of Woudrichem and Gorinchem - on both sides of the Merwede - had been made strong enough.
Later, at the end of Napoleon's reign, Gorinchem came from in the winter months
In 1814 it came under heavy and prolonged fire. After the retreat of the French, the
fortified city restored and equipped to become a cornerstone of the New Dutch Waterline (1815-1963).
Heukelum and Asperen
The first part of the route follows the dike along the natural bends of the Linge from Gorinchem to Leerdam. This part - in the border area with Gelderland - became part of the OHWL in the second half of the eighteenth century.
In the vicinity of Leerdam are the old towns of Heukelum and Asperen on the south side of the Linge. Survived or restored parts of the fortress include an earthen embankment with a moat in Heukelum and a city rampart and wall in Asperen. About a kilometer east of Heukelum Castle Merckenburg stands within a wide moat. It was blown up by the enemy in 1672, but rebuilt decades later. A fort of the NHWL near Asperen is known today as'the art fort\\\' because of all kinds of cultural manifestations.
Leerdam is also a historic city with a complete wall. Along the Linge you can find remnants and restored parts of the city or rampart and (inhabited) ramparts. On the site of the former castle is the monumental Hofje of Mrs. van Aerden. The city is widely known as'The Glass City\\\'.
In 1672-1673 Leerdam and the entire area east of the OHWL was occupied by the French and burned. The nearby village of Schoonrewoerd was visited by looters. Invasions from Prussia (Germany) and France in the eighteenth century led to a great deal of local discomfort and damage in Leerdam and the surrounding area.
East of Leerdam, the Diefdijk begins, which forms the cross-connection between the high dykes of the Linge and the Lek. In 1672-1673 the inundation area of the OHWL was west of the Diefdijk, in Dutch territory. More than a century later it was finally moved to the east side, in Gelderland.
The landscape around the Diefdijk is varied and mainly rural and quiet, with the exception of the passage with the A2. The opening in the transverse dyke was widened considerably for this purpose not so long ago. If necessary, the motorway divider can be closed.
Some wheels (puddles) at the Diefdijk mark old dike breaches. The age-old location of the cross-dike is evidenced by historic buildings and farms, while concrete casemates and group shelters accentuate its later military significance. The Diefdijk ends on the north side in front of a large nineteenth-century fortress.
Tower Fort Everdingen with rampart, moat, drawbridge, inundation locks, entrance gate and various buildings is completely built into the Lekdijk and is hidden behind bushes and under trees. The Lek river with its high dikes has always been regarded by the military as a well-defensible part of the water line.
On the route from Fort Everdingen to Vianen there are mostly flood plains on the river side and mostly agricultural land, fruit and willow trees, farms and houses inside the dike. A weir has been built in the river near Hagestein. The new construction of Vianen begins after the underpass of the A27 and the historic center is reached via a drawbridge over the lock complex of the Merwede Canal.
Modern Vianen is completely surrounded and dominated by the large-scale
traffic infrastructure of the A2 and A27. The old entrance to the city is perpendicular to the Lek. The monumental Lekpoort and wide Voorstraat still indicate this. The connection to the sluice village of Vreeswijk is (still) maintained by the pedestrian and/or bicycle ferry Vrevia. The lock on the other side was of great importance to the OHWL north of the Lek.
In Vianen you can also find canals, parts of city walls and the Hofpoort. It was not a fortified city of the OHWL, but later in the eighteenth century it was part of the so-called Cordon of Holland. Then there was a battery outside the dike.
Former redoubt on the dike at Ameide-Sluis
After Vianen, the Lekdijk is followed further west and to the OHWL of 1672-1673. The river villages of Lexmond and Jaarsveld then had a hard time in the front area. In the last village, the canal pattern of Veldenstein Castle, which was blown up in 1672, has been preserved.
Behind the drainage complex of Ameide-Sluis, a redoubt was constructed on the high Lekdijk for the OHWL. The enemy was not allowed to come further west. But in vain in November 1672. Many water mills, houses and farms were then set on fire by French soldiers. There were also dozens of casualties. A supply of ammunition in the church of Ameide, miraculously, remained untouched.
The Zouwendijk starts at Ameide-Sluis, which is called Bazeldijk further on at Meerkerk, and connects again in Arkel to the Lingedijk to Gorinchem. This transverse dike, on the border of the Vijfheerenlanden in the east and the Alblasserwaard in the west, was built along the old river Zederik or Zouwe. In the time of the OHWL, it formed the main connection between the dike ramp at Sluis aan de Lek and the fortified town of Gorinchem aan de Merwede. In 1672, the inundated land stretched on both sides of this connection. Now there are mainly meadows, pilot whales
(willow cultivation) and reed beds; there are also farms and houses. After the underpass of the A27
the village of Meerkerk is reached. On the east side of the Bazeldijk, the Merwede Canal then flows in the direction of Gorinchem.
Some options to have a drink and/or eat along the way:
Eat & Drinkery't Oude Stadthuys, Grote Markt 17
Restaurant Lingehaven, Langendijk 90
Tea-Schenkerij Woonark Duo, Rietveld 14a
Tasting de Heerlijckheid, Kerkstraat 91
Pancake restaurant t Veerhuys, Kerkstraat 93
Café-Restaurant at Recreation Center Everstein, Lekdijk 34
Restaurant De Graaf van Brederode and De Vrijstad, Voorstraat 26 and 101
Theehuisje de Ponthoeve, Buitenstad 69
Café-Restaurant De Drie Snoeken, Dorpsstraat 67
Café-Restaurant De Gouden Leeuw, Kortenhoevenseweg 12
Pub-Restaurant"In't Wapen van Ameide\\\", Benedendamsestraat 3.
Café d\\\'n Dijk, Lekdijk 30.
Eeterij Het Kleine Brughuis, Dorpsplein 2.
Café Petit Restaurant De Gouden Leeuw, Dorpsplein 4.