From Hilversum to Hilversum
On Tuesday, 23 April 2019, it had become clear that a short trip to the south of France (see previous part) would be tight. Veleda and Maurits had left St.Hubert on Monday morning, and had stopped at Dijon, Darois aerodrome. They were going to stay there for two nights, as it was no use yet to continue to La-Motte-du-Caire because of the weather there.
As the weather outlook for Dijon was also not that good, René decided not to fly to Dijon. Instead, on Tuesday René made a flight in the region south-east of Utrecht.
In the Piper Archer before departure
Forts near Utrecht
In the beginning of the 19th century it was decided to bring the city of Utrecht within the water line. Various forts were built around Utrecht in the years 1816-1824. The forts protected the flood defenses, the inlet points and the acceses that could not be flooded.
Between 1840-1860, most forts, including those around Utrecht, were given a so-called bomb-free building. These are buildings of heavy brickwork for the stay of the soldiers and the drafting of guns that were resistant to projectiles filled with gunpowder. Improvements in artillery soon revealed that a number of these forts were too close to the city for effective defense.
Four new forts were constructed in 1867-1870 that were further away from the city. In the period 1877-1880, the forts of Hemeltje and Hoofddijk were completed. Just before the outbreak of the Second World War , group shelters and casemates of reinforced concrete were built to reinforce the Waterline. In the May days of 1940, the Waterline turned out to be outdated.
The forts have been defended three times. The first time with the Franco-German war in 1870. The second time with the mobilization in 1914 and for the third and last time in 1939/1940.
Forts near Utrecht
(more about the new Dutch water line in this trip report)
The weir near Amerongen is one of three weirs in the Nederrijn and Lek that regulate the distribution of water over the rivers Nederrijn and the IJssel, and regulate the water levels in the Nederrijn and the river Lek.
Fort bij Rijnauwen
Weir near Amerongen
Ravenstein is a fortified city on the river Maas (Meuse). The town was created near a castle, and was granted city rights in 1380. The land of Ravenstein was an independent area until 1815, when in became part of the new province North-Brabant.
The St. Andries canal is a short canal between the rivers Maas and Waal, where the two rivers approach each other very closely. The original canal was dug in 1599 during the Eighty Years' War.
Sint Andries canal, Rossum
Ravenstein was founded in 1360 by Walraven van Valkenburg, lender of the Duke of Brabant, who then had a castle built on the banks of the Maas, after having spent years tolling from his castle in Herpen on traffic on the river. In 1364 the duke tried in vain to put an end to this practice by besieging the castle.
In 1630, Ravenstein again transferred to a new owner, this time the Catholic house of Neuburg. The State garrison left the city temporarily to return in 1635. A special garrison church was built in 1641.
Ravenstein, however, remained outside the Republic and freedom of religion returned. The Land of Ravenstein thus became a refuge for monastic orders fled from the Republic, while Catholics from across the border attended mass in churches on Ravenstein's territory. With the arrival of the French in 1672, the State garrison withdrew. The fortifications were subsequently demolished.
In 1735 the St. Lucia's Church was built in Ravenstein, the only Dutch church in this Baroque style outside the province of Limburg.
In 1794, the French occupation ended the autonomy of the Land of Ravenstein. In 1800, Ravenstein and the associated land were sold to the Batavian Republic. In 1814 Ravenstein joined the then founded Kingdom of the Netherlands. Under Dutch rule the castle was demolished in 1818 up to and including the foundations. Only the Kasteelsepoort remained as part of it.
Castle Maurick is located on an island near the small river Dommel, south of 's-Hertogenbosch. The castle dates from around 1400, but it was probably rebuilt in 1504 - 1509. In 1629 the then Prince of Orange moved into the castle during the siege of 's-Hertogenbosch.
The Gothic Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John (Sint-Janskathedraal) in 's-Hertogenbosch was erected between 1370 and 1529. It expresses the wealth of 's-Hertogenbosch in the late Middle Ages. St. Johns Cathedral is luxuriously decorated with statues, pointed arches, figurines, and large windows.
St.John's Cathedral, 's-Hertogenbosch
Veleda at Maurick Castle
The oldest part of Maurick Castle dates from around 1400. It is the entrance between the two slender towers. The name Maurick Castle is supposed to come from Hendrik van Maurick, a knight from the province Gelderland whose wife inherited the castle in 1400. Maurick Castle was rebuilt around 1504-1509 by Jan Heyns, one of the architects of St John's Cathedral in 's-Hertogenbosch. Today the Castle houses a restaurant.
The medieval city centre of 's-Hertogenbosch is one of the oldest and most complete in the Netherlands. The inner city is the largest walled area in the country. 's-Hertogenbosch is best known for the huge and beautifully built St. John's Cathedral. During the Eighty Years' War the city was attacked six times without success between 1585 and 1622.
Siege of 's-Hertogenbosch
With money from the captured Spanish Silver Fleet in the Bay of Matanzas on the north coast of Cuba by Piet Hein in 1628, Prince Frederich launched a major attack on 's-Hertogenbosch in 1629. The prince had claimed Maurick Castle, and it was his headquearters at the siege of 's-Hertogenbosch. The siege resulted in the Dutch Republic taking over the city from the Spanish.
The first mention of Zaltbommel, known then as Bomela, dates from as early as 850. In 999, it was granted the right to charge a toll and the right to mint its own coins. From then on, it expanded into a major trading town and was rewared in 1231 with its city rights. Zaltbommel withstood various sieges by the Spanish during the Eighty Years' War.
Fort bij Rijnauwen, Kromme Rijn
Although there is not much tourist information available online about Zaltbommel, certainly not in English, we found that it is definitely worthwhile a visit.