Historically, a natural branch of the Maas flowed from Heusden to the Amer and Hollands Diep estuary; this branch silted up and now forms a stream called Oude Maasje. The Bergse Maas, which takes its name from the town of Geertruidenberg, was constructed in its basin to take over its functions, in 1904. The other main distributary of the Maas, was at the same time damned at Heusden, so that the flow of Maas is effectively separated from that of the Rhine distributaries, and has since been known as the "Afgedamde" Maas (literally, "dammed-up"). The resulting separation of the rivers Rhine and Meuse is considered to be the greatest achievement in Dutch hydraulic engineering before the completion of the Zuiderzee Works and Delta Works.
There are two road bridges and three car ferries. The latter are free of charge, as promised to the people living in the area when the Bergse Maas was dug, but as of 2004, a fee of €1.00 is charged for cars. For pedestrians, the ferries remain free of charge.