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New + Old Dutch Waterline
New + Old Dutch Waterline
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9 days
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Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep
History Culture
price from € 825
New + Old Dutch Waterline
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New + Old Dutch Waterline


Bike Tour: New + Old Dutch Waterline - 9 days

Are you in search of the unexpected? This cycling tour through a unique military landscape is sure to keep you on your toes. The New Dutch Water defence Line (85 km long) was an ingenious defensive system of dikes, sluices, canals, low forts and bunkers. When an army approached, wide stretches of land were intentionally flooded with 40 cm of water, too shallow for boats and too deep to traverse on foot.

Today the Water Defence Line is a great area to explore by bike, scanning the green surroundings for signs of a military structure. There are 46 forts and five fortified towns in all, as well as bunkers, casemates, group shelters etc. Having been a military site, it was off-limits to the public for a long time, allowing wildlife to establish here.

Day 1: Arrival at Abcoude
Day 2: Abcoude – Oud Loosdrecht
Day 3: Oud Loosdrecht – Utrecht
Day 4: Utrecht – Wijk bij Duurstede
Day 5: Wijk bij Duurstede – Leerdam
Day 6: Leerdam – Gorinchem
Day 7: Gorinchem - Woerden
Day 8: Woerden - Abcoude
Day 9: Return Home

Day 1:    Arrival at Abcoude

Your voyage of discovery starts in Abcoude. In his younger years, painter Piet Mondriaan was inspired by the idyll of this village and its surroundings and often cycled down here to paint landscapes. He painted the ‘Oostzijdse molen’ (windmill) over twenty times between 1902 and 1908. It is still standing so you could cycle over to see it. Other points of interest include the churches and Fort bij Abcoude. Looking for more buzz? From Abcoude station it is only a twenty-minute train ride into Amsterdam! 

Day 2:    Abcoude – Oud Loosdrecht
50 km

Follow the River Gein to Fort Nigtevecht, a lovely, tranquil place, set in natural surroundings. The highlight of the morning is Muiderslot, a small medieval castle, well-worth a visit and guided tour (if you don’t mind crowds). It is picture-perfect, complete with moat, drawbridge, crenellated parapets, wall-walk, grand hall, living quarters etc,. Find out what life was like here in the olden days. 
The fortified town of Naarden was built in the 17th century. It is full of interesting buildings, antiques shops, art galleries, eateries and museums. To find out about the star-shaped fortifications with double ramparts and moats, check out the Dutch Fortress Museum. At the end of the day, cycle a beautiful route along the River Vecht and then the Loosdrechtse Plassen, the lake district where you will find your hotel.

Day 3:    Oud Loosdrecht – Utrecht
30 km

Continue through the lake district to Loenen aan de Vecht, one of the Netherlands’ most charming villages. It harbours 144 national monuments. Next, follow the River Vecht further up-stream to Breukelen, well-known for the lovely country houses that adorn the riverbanks. Did you know that Brooklyn in New York was named after Breukelen? Passing three more forts, cycle through Dutch polder landscape to Utrecht, the fourth largest city in the country. The city center comes highly recommended with its historical ambiance; and canals and wharves with a difference. 
After Breukelen you have a second option. The alternative route follows the River Vecht to the town of Maarssen and Utrecht city center. Along the way, stop off at Fort aan de Klop, where you can sit down for a pleasant break at bomb-free Wachthuis, guard house, a brasserie with outdoor seating selling local products. This alternative route is 32 km long. 

Day 4:    Utrecht – Wijk bij Duurstede
53 km

In the morning, you can visit the Waterlinie Museum at Fort Vechten in Bunnik. Here you can study the art of inundation warfare. Moreover, using a virtual reality headset, you can experience a parachute jump out of a plane into Water Line territory.Your next stop is a part of the defence line that was never actually used. The “plofsluis” looks like a bridge spanning a canal. In the case of controlled inundation, to stop water streaming out of the inundated zone into the canal, the bridge had to be blown up with explosives. It would then collapse into the water, serving as an instant dam to block off the canal. The journey continues past three locks and numerous forts including Fort Werk aan de Korte Uitweg, boasting a fantastic tea garden. At an Infantry position known as Werk aan de Groeneweg you will see many casemates and bunkers, as well as double trenches with earthen walls. End the day in Wijk bij Duurstede, a small town with a big history. It stands on the vestiges of a trading settlement that was one of the most important in Northern Europe in the 7th - 9th centuries. Dorestad, as it was called, developed at the intersection of two main waterways that connected the hinterlands to sea, one going north (for trade with Scandinavia) and one west (for trade with England). More recently, in the New Water Line strategies, the River Kromme Rijn and the large lock in Wijk bij Duurstede played an important part in enabling the inundundation of the area around Utrecht.

Day 5:    Wijk bij Duurstede – Leerdam
56 km

Cycle through a river landscape, formed by the River Lek. Your first stop is at the historical town of Culemborg. Then head for Werk aan het Spoel, a fort in the Waterlinie that defends one of the five special sluice gates known as fan gates, used for inundation. Nowadays the fort boasts an attractive restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. The route contintues to Fort Everdingen, home to Duits&Lauret, a beer brewery with tasting room. In the afternoon, visit Fort Asperen on the River Linge. This fort has been transformed into a cultural center with summer art and design exhibitions. Subsequently, the route welcomes you into the Betuwe region known for its fruit orchards. Following the meandering River Linge, you will pass pretty villages such as Acquoy which boasts its own leaning towner of Pisa; and Beesd where you can look at a windmill called Vrijheid; and a country estate called Marienwaerdt where good coffee and apple pie are served. You could stop off at De Paay owl and animal park; or at Geofort interactive science center with an earth and navigation theme. In the course of the afternoon, it is possible to cross the river in several places, thus shortening the route to 43 or 33 km. 

Crown your day in Leerdam. Glass artefacts and decorative objects have been produced here since 1765. If you’re into glass, don’t miss the Nationaal Glasmuseum. Or go to see glass blowers at work at the Glasblazerij. Finally, have you ever tried Leerdammer cheese? It tastes very different from other Dutch cheeses such as Gouda or Edam.

Day 6:    Leerdam – Gorinchem
62 km

Explore the river landscape of the Waal river. Twice you will cross the river by ferry. One of the highlights of the day is a castle called Slot Loevesteijn. It stands in lovely natural surroundings on the riverbank. In the Middle Ages, the lord of this defensive castle had the right to collect toll from people using the river. The castle also served as a prison. In the afternoon, discover the fortified town of Woudrichem and later Fort Altena. Your cycling holiday ends in Gorinchem, one of the best-preserved fortified towns in the country. Cannons and windmills stand atop the town walls that enclose approx. 300 houses. The local museum is dedicated to river fishing. In the friendly town center explore the market square with its many pavement cafes.

If you want to see more, you can continue to Fort Bakkerskil; and along the River De Steur to Fort Steurgat, the southwestern end of the New Dutch Waterline. This alternative route is 74 km long. 

Day 7:    Gorinchem - Woerden
49 km

Today you will cycle past part of the Old Dutch Waterline that saved us in the wars against Spain and France, 350 years ago. Your first stop is Nieuwpoort, one of the smallest fortified towns in the country, founded around 1200 AD. Next, continue to the town of Schoonhoven, traditionally known for the production of clocks and most importantly silver objects. Silver smiths have been turning out treasures here since the 17th century. To this day, the town is home to the Silver School, Silver Museum, galleries etc. The next stop is the picturesque town of Oudewater. It was to this place that women who had been accused of witchcraft fled from all over Europe to try to have their innocence proven by weighing. In the Witches Weigh House, stand on the scales (from 1482!) and discover whether you would have been considered light enough to fly on a broomstick.

Top off your day in Woerden. This historical town is known for its Saturday morning cheese market (April – August). Discover the castle, the windmills, the town museum and much more.

Day 8:    Woerden - Abcoude
59 km

Mount your bike for the last leg of this tour. The route follows the “Limes”, the frontier of the Roman Empire. Your first stop is Fort Wierickerschans. Next is cheese town Bodegraven. The scenery along the route is typically Dutch, cows grazing in low-lying meadows; lakes fringed with reeds and rushes; and old watercourses. Your holiday comes to an end at your hotel in Abcoude.
It is possible to take a shorter route (just 39 km), missing out Fort Wierickerschans and Bodegraven. 

Day 9:    Return Home

After one last hotel breakfast, it’s time to go home.

prices & dates

Price pp
Single room, breakfast 1,065.00
Double room, breakfast 825.00
Dinner 240.00
Extra night (breakfast only) 70.00
Rental bike
Child bike 80.00
Hybrid 96.00
Premium bike 160.00
Ebike 200.00
Extra services
Bike Breakdown pass € 2.75 x 8 22.00
Child seat € 5.00 x 8 40.00
Bike theft insurance € 3.00 x 8 24.00
E-bike theft insurance € 6.00 x 8 48.00
Theft insurance premium bike € 6.00 x 8 48.00
Extra luggage € 5.00 x 8 40.00
Add on bike € 6.00 x 8 48.00
Child trailer € 17.50 x 8 140.00
Bike helmet per piece 10.00

Price pp
Single room, breakfast 1,000.00
Double room, breakfast 760.00
Dinner 240.00
Extra night (breakfast only) 70.00
Rental bike
Child bike 80.00
Hybrid 96.00
Premium bike 160.00
Ebike 200.00
Extra services
Bike Breakdown pass € 2.75 x 8 22.00
Child seat € 5.00 x 8 40.00
Bike theft insurance € 3.00 x 8 24.00
E-bike theft insurance € 6.00 x 8 48.00
Theft insurance premium bike € 6.00 x 8 48.00
Extra luggage € 5.00 x 8 40.00
Add on bike € 6.00 x 8 48.00
Child trailer € 17.50 x 8 140.00
Bike helmet per piece 10.00

Categorie A
Abcoude - 
Boutique Hotel de Witte Dame*** 

Oud Loosdrecht - Fletcher Hotel Loosdrecht ***

Utrecht - Hotel Mitland****

Wijk bij Duurstede / Beusichem - Hotel de Gouden Leeuw*** 

Leerdam - Gastrij het Oude Posthuys***

Gorinchem - Boutique Hotel karel de Stoute

Woerden - Stadshotel Woerden****

Categorie B
Abcoude - Hotel Abcoude ***

Oud Loosdrecht - Fletcher Hotel Loosdrecht ***

Bunnik - Postillion Hotel Utrecht - Bunnik ***

Beusichem / Wijk bij Duurstede - Hotel 't Veerhuys *** 

Leerdam - Gastrij het Oude Posthuys***

Gorinchem - Hotel Gorinchem***

Woerden - Best Western Hotel Woerden***

practical info

8 Nights included

3/4 Star Hotels

Breakfast included, Halfboard optional

Tourist information on all the places of interest

The possibility of renting our bikes

7-days a week service-hotline

Luggage transport to your next hotel


Parking possibilities at the hotel

GPS-tracks availible

Any ferry crossings are not included

Category A Category B
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