The is a long distance hiking trail (LAW 17) in the Netherlands following the 19th century defence works that were build around Amsterdam called the "Stelling van Amsterdam" and in Utrecht called the "Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie".
The first time I walked a section of the trail was with my sister on the 15th of August 2019 on a hike from Houten to Culemborg.
That was when I decided to buy the trail guide and make an effort to walk the 350 km of the trail.
Most parts of both defence lines were build from 1870 onward and were build in lowlands that could be floaded with about 30 cm of water (too little for boats) in case an enemy was approaching.
The whole defence line became obsolete with the development of tanks and airplanes.
Both defence lines are now a UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Volendam to Purmerend - 5-Oct-19
The Stelling of Amsterdam starts on the north of the pittoresk village of Volendam at the boarder of the inland sea. The defence line and the fortresses are build about 15 kilometers from the downtown area and is about 135 kilometers long.
From Volendam It runs through the village of Edam and then on to Purmerend. Volendam and Edam are old fishermans villages and Edam is also famous for the cheese that is made there.
Houten to Culemborg - 15-Aug-19
My sister Vera and I planned a hike together which we had not done for a long time. I searched for a hike betweem 15 and 20 kilometers starting and finishing near a railway station somewhere between our hometowns. That is how we made our first hike on the Waterliniepad and completed the day with dinner downtown Utrecht.
Weesp to Bussum - 16-Oct-19
Another hike with my sister Vera.
We met in Utrecht train station and from there took a train together to Weesp where the trail started along the river Vecht to the inland sea with the Muiderslot; a castle from the middle ages.
After lunch in Muiden we walked through the countryside and on the northern side of Naarder lake to the fortified city of Naarden.
Here we visited the national museum of fortified cities before we continued the trail that vtook us over the city walls to the neighbouring city of Hilversum where we took a train back to Utrecht for dinner before each of us going home again.
Purmerend to Krommenie - 19-Oct-19
One of the advantages of hiking in the Netherlands is that you can often take a train to the start of the track and find another trainstation at the end. Today I arrived in Purmerend by train and picked up the trail at the northern border of the city close to
the Halfweg fortress. Like many of the fortresses today this is in use by
a private company that has converted it into wine cellars.
The trail followed the northern part of the Wormer Polder and photo 6
shows an inundation lock that was used to flood the land.
The canals and lakes in the area were a natural barrier
for the enemy at the time the defence
line was build and the engineers made
use of that. After crossing a canal at
Spijkerboor I continued to the train
station in the village of Krommenie.
Krommenie to Spaarndam
On October 26th I was back in Krommenie by train to continue exploring the track.
Autumn is probably not the best time to visit the fortresses. I found most of them closed.
The houses with the green wooden tops as well as the square farmhouses with the pyramid shaped roof are typical for this part of the country.
As the defence line is crossed by the Northsea Canal from Amsterdam to the North Sea I had to follow the canal for a while to the Spaarndam - Assendelft ferry.
After the canal the track was going south to the village of Spaarndam from where I took a bus to the city of Haarlem to catch a train back home.
Spaarndam to Hoofddorp - 2-Nov-19
A relatively long hike as I was looking for convenient places to reach
by public transport. That turned out to be Hoofddorp where the trail is
crossing the railway tracks at the station.
From Spaarndam the trail runs to the fortress at Haarlemmerliede and
then follows the canal of the Haarlemmermeer polder to the fortress at
Vijfhuizen.There the so called Geniedijk starts that runs all the way
Hoofddorp to Uithoorn - 7-Dec-19
The first part was still folloeing the Geniedijk to
the fortress at Aalsmeer that nowadays houses
a museum about the second world war.
Fortress Kudelstaart at the border of the lake of
Aalsmeer is in use as a yacht marina.
In many canals people live in houseboats. This
started in the 1970's when the Netherlands did
not have enough houses.
Uithoorn to Abcoude - 7-Mar-20
The second time I tried this section and today the ferry over the Amstel river at Nessersluis was operating so I could finish it. The fortress at Nessersluis is in use as wine cellar by a trading company and not acessible. Fortres Botshol appears to be no more than sand hills and fortress De Winkel was private property.
But it was a nice walk following the Amstel, Waver and Winkel rivers and the track by the Vinkeveense plassen.