Defence lines of the Netherlands

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Overview of the Dutch defence lines in 1940

Roman Defence Line[edit]

Pre 1874 Defence Lines[edit]

  • Netherlands Circumvallatielinie van Groenlo [1][2]
  • Frisian Water Line (Netherlands Friese Waterlinie)
  • Netherlands Groningse Waterlinie
  • Netherlands Helperlinie
  • Netherlands Linie Bergen op Zoom - Steenbergen
  • Netherlands Linie van Beverwijk
  • Netherlands Linie van de Eems
  • Netherlands Linie van de Eendracht
  • Netherlands Linie van Noord-Holland
  • Netherlands Oostfrontier
  • Old Dutch Water Line (Netherlands Oude Hollandse Waterlinie)
  • Netherlands Positie van 's-Hertogenbosch
  • Netherlands Posten van Krayenhoff
  • Netherlands Staats - Spaanse Linies
  • Netherlands Stelling West Noord-Brabant
  • Netherlands Zijper Stelling
  • Netherlands Zuider Frontier

Fortification Law 1874[edit]

The Vestingwet[3] (eng: Fortification Law) or Wet tot regeling en voltooiing van het vestingstelsel (eng: Law to regulate and complete the fortification) was signed on 18 April 1874. The law dealt with the defence of the Netherlands against enemy attacks.

The main principle was defence by flooding where as the army of the Netherlands would withdraw to the area around Amsterdam. After the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871) it became clear that a new defence plan was needed. The law was made by the Minister of War August Weitzel under King Willem III. The Law became dysfunctional at 28 March 1938.

  • Grebbe Line (Netherlands Grebbelinie)[4]
  • IJssel Line (Netherlands IJssellinie)
  • New Dutch Water Line (Netherlands Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie)
  • Defence Line of Amsterdam (Netherlands Stelling van Amsterdam)[5]
  • Netherlands Stelling van Den Helder
  • Netherlands Stelling van het Hollandsch Diep en het Volkerak
  • Netherlands Stelling van de monden der Maas en van het Haringvliet
  • Netherlands Werken aan de Westerschelde
  • Netherlands Zuiderwaterlinie

Interbellum (1918 - 1940)[edit]

  • Netherlands Bath & Zanddijk Stellingen
  • Netherlands Geullinie
  • Grebbe Line (Netherlands Grebbelinie)
  • IJssel Line (Netherlands IJssellinie)
  • Netherlands Kazematten Afsluitdijk
  • Netherlands Maaslinie
  • Netherlands Linge - Waallinie
  • Netherlands Oranjestelling
  • Peel-Raam Line (Netherlands Peel-Raamstelling)
  • Netherlands Waal-Maaslinie
  • Netherlands Weerstandslinies Noord-Oost Nederland

World War II (1939 - 1945)[edit]

During the occupation of the Netherlands the Germans made fortifications to prohibit the Allies to liberate the Netherlands and to protect their V2 rocket platforms in the Netherlands. The Germans built new defence lines like the Atlantic Wall but also reused the Dutch defence line like the Grebbe line.

  • Germany Assenerstellung / Frieslandriegel
  • Atlantic Wall (Germany Atlantikwall)
  • Germany Brabantstellung
  • Germany Vordere Wasserstellung
  • Germany Hintere Wasserstellung
  • Panther Line (Germany Pantherstellung) [6]
  • Germany IJsselstellung

Cold War (1946 - 1991)[edit]

During the cold war a defence line was created to slow down the Russian attack on the Netherlands.[7]

Maps of the Defence Lines[edit]


  1. ^ Site with English summary
  2. ^ Dutch site with new discovered parts of the line
  3. ^ Text of the Fortification Law
  4. ^ Dutch site of the Grebbe Line
  5. ^ English information about the Defence Line of Amsterdam
  6. ^ Dutch information about the Pantherstellung
  7. ^ English information about the IJssel Line