Networked forts

Screen shot 2013-09-20 at 11.24.25 AMThere is a strange structure in the water of the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal at Nieuwegein. It’s just sitting there like an unfinished bridge. It’s a plofsluis or “blow-up lock”. It was put there to block the canal by blowing it up and sinking it into the water creating an instant dam in times of war. It was built in 1934.

When the Amsterdam-Rijn canal was completed connecting Amsterdam with the Rhijn it broke the Nieuwe Hollandse waterlinie.

The nieuwe Hollandse waterlinie was a highly complex system which could flood a large area of the country by 30 – 60 cm from the Biesbosch Near Dordtrecht to the Zuiderzee (Ijsselmeer), making it impossible for infantry to advance and normal boats to cross. Special plains were created in the landscape and forts were built where the water stopped. Many of these forts are in or near Utrecht.

All these forts connect together and are relatively close to each other. Yet they are all different. Most are now obsolete or have been built into venues for recreational purposes. But they are a very tangeable piece of local history. Some are hidden away in green areas outside of urban life and others are slap bang in the middle of a busy thoroughfare. As a whole you don’t notice the waterlinie, it’s too big.

Ever since the Zomergasten episode with Daan van Roosegaarde I’ve been thinking about networks. I can’t help but think in terms of connections. The waterlinie reminds me of the ants and their amzing structure.

Eventhough the idea of the waterlinie is out of date and the connected forts have no military function anymore. they are still a great example of a network. Single forts you spot in the landscaped all interconnected.


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