Dutch Fortifications

An Illustrated History from the Roman Era to the Cold War


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SKU: 9781476680422 Categories: , ,

About the Book

Covering 2000 years–from Roman times through the Cold War–this book describes the evolution of military architecture in the territory today known as the Netherlands. A vital ally of the Dutch–their numerous rivers and canals–played a central role in the defensive strategy of the country, particularly since the 17th century. A general history covers the innovators, architects and engineers of each period and their involvement in the development of fortifications. Illustrations detail the technical features of defensive structures, alongside discussion of the weapons and tactics they were designed confront.

About the Author(s)

Historian, writer and illustrator Jean-Denis G.G. Lepage is the author of numerous books. His interests include World War II and medieval and French history. He lives in Groningen, Netherlands.

Bibliographic Details

Jean-Denis G.G. Lepage
Format: softcover (8.5 x 11)
Pages: 287
Bibliographic Info: 402 illustrations, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8042-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4081-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Low Countries, Netherlands, Belgium, and Holland 1
Geography of the Netherlands 1
Water 1

Chapter 1. The Romans in the Netherlands 3
Historical Background 3
Limes 3
Roman Fortifications 4
Urban Fortifications 8
End of Roman Rule 15

Chapter 2. The Middle Ages ca. 500–1500 16
The Netherlands in the Early Middle Ages 16
Fortifications in the Early Middle Ages 19
Medieval Castles 22
Medieval Cities 42
Urban Medieval Fortifications 46
Medieval Siege Warfare 57
Conclusion 58

Chapter 3. Renaissance 59
The Burgundian Period 59
Habsburg and Spanish Rules 59
Firearms 60
Transitional Fortification 60
Italian Bastioned Fortification 65
Early Italian Bastioned Fortifications in the Netherlands 70
Coastal Fortification 75
Siege Warfare with Firearms 76

Chapter 4. The Eighty Years’ War 78
War with Spain 78
The Old Dutch System 80
Dutch Engineers 94
Defensive Waterlines 106
The Influence of Dutch ONS Fortifications in Northern Europe 108
Dutch Fortifications in the Colonies 111

Chapter 5. The Golden 17th Century 118
A Blossoming Era 118
Dutch Fortifications in the Latter 17th Century 118
Siege Warfare 124
Menno van Coehoorn 126
New Dutch System 130
Menno Van Coehoorn’s Works 133
Menno van Coehoorn’s Influence 136

Chapter 6. The 18th Century and the French Era 139
The 18th Century 139
The French Era 145
French Napoleonic Fortifications 146
French Realizations in the Netherlands 146

Chapter 7. The 19th Century 160
The Industrial Revolution 160
The United Kingdom of the Netherlands 160
Dutch Fortifications in the Period 1830–1860 162
The New Holland Waterline 164
The Rifled Artillery Crisis, ca. 1860 172
Vestingwet 1874 177
The Polygonal System 180
Crisis in the 1880s 184
The Stelling of Amsterdam, 1880–1920 187
The Forts in the Stelling 189
Fortifications in the Colonies 199

Chapter 8. The Period 1914–1940 202
The First World War, 1914–1918 202
Dutch Fortifications in the Interbellum, 1918–1939 204
Fortifications of the Afsluitdijk (Ijsselmeer Dam) 207
Lines of Defense, 1937–1940 212
Interwar Standardized Pillboxes 214
Assessment 223

Chapter 9. The Second World War, 1939–1945 225
Defeat and Occupation 225
The German Atlantic Wall, 1940–1945 226
The Atlantic Wall in the Netherlands 245
Liberation 256

Chapter 10. Dutch Fortifications in the Cold War 257
Cold War 257
Dutch Postwar Reconstruction 257
Dutch Fortifications During the Cold War 257
Remnants of Dutch Fortifications Today 264

Conclusion 274
Bibliography 275
Index 277