UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Netherlands

Defence Line of Amsterdam

The UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Defence Line of Amsterdam (in Dutch named Stelling van Amsterdam) is a 135 km long ring of fortifications around Amsterdam, consisting of 42 forts located between 10 to 15 kilometers from the centre, and lowlands that can easily be flooded in time of war. The flooding was designed to give a depth of about 30 cm, insufficient for boats to traverse. Any buildings within 1 km of th ...
Founded: 1880-1920 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Canal Ring of Amsterdam

Built during the Golden Age of the 17th century, Amsterdam’s Canal Ring, known locally as the Grachtengordel, is comprised of a network of intersecting waterways. These were developed through the drainage and reclamation of land for new development. Yet what was initially a practical feature, allowing the city to grow beyond its fortified boundaries, subsequently evolved into the area’s characteristic gabled canal-sid ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Kinderdijk Windmills

Kinderdijk village is situated in a polder in the Alblasserwaard at the confluence of the Lek and Noord rivers. To drain the polder, a system of 19 windmills was built around 1740. This group of mills is the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands. The windmills of Kinderdijk are one of the best-known Dutch tourist sites. They have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.
Founded: 1740 | Location: Kinderdijk, Netherlands

Van Nelle Factory

The former Van Nelle Factory (Van Nellefabriek) is considered a prime example of the International Style and Constructivism. It has been a designated World Heritage Site since 2014. The buildings were designed by architect Leendert van der Vlugt from the Brinkman & Van der Vlugt office in cooperation with civil engineer J.G. Wiebenga, at that time a specialist for constructions in reinforced concrete, and built betwe ...
Founded: 1925-1931 | Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands

Rietveld Schröder House

The Rietveld Schröder House was built in 1924 by Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld for Mrs. Truus Schröder-Schräder and her three children. It constitutes both inside and outside a radical break with all architecture before it. The house is one of the best known examples of De Stijl-architecture and arguably the only true De Stijl building. Mrs. Schröder lived in the house until her death in 1985. The ho ...
Founded: 1924 | Location: Utrecht, Netherlands

Beemster Polder

The Beemster Polder, dating from the early 17th century, is is an exceptional example of reclaimed land in the Netherlands. It has preserved intact its well-ordered landscape of fields, roads, canals, dykes and settlements, laid out in accordance with classical and Renaissance planning principles. The Beemster Polder was created by the draining of Lake Beemster in 1612, in order to develop new agricultural land and space ...
Founded: 1607-1612 | Location: Beemster, Netherlands

Muiden Fortress

The fortress in Muiden, known as Muizenfort is part of the Stelling van Amsterdam, the UNESCO World Heritage site that consists of a set of forts around the city of Amsterdam. The defence line was 135 km long ring of fortifications around Amsterdam, consisting of 42 forts located between 10 to 15 kilometers the centre, and lowlands that can easily be flooded in time of war. The flooding was designed to give a depth of abo ...
Founded: 1880-1920 | Location: Muiden, Netherlands

Wouda Pumping Station

The ir. D.F. Woudagemaal is the largest still operational steam-powered pumping station in the world. On October 7, 1920 Queen Wilhelmina opened the pumping station. It was built to pump excess water out of Friesland, a province in the north of the Netherlands. In 1967, after running on coal for 47 years, the boilers were converted to run on heavy fuel oil. It has a pumping capacity of 4,000 m³ per minute. The pumpi ...
Founded: 1920 | Location: Lemmer, Netherlands

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Bergenhus Fortress

Bergenhus fortress is one of the oldest and best preserved castles in Norway. It contains buildings dating as far back as the 1240s, as well as later constructions built as recently as World War II. The extent of the enclosed area of today dates from the early 19th century. In medieval times, the area of the present-day Bergenhus Fortress was known as Holmen (The islet), and contained the royal residence in Bergen, as well as a cathedral and several churches, the bishop's residence, and a Dominican monastery. Excavations have revealed foundations of buildings believed to date back to before 1100, which might have been erected by King Olav Kyrre. In the 13th century, until 1299, Bergen was the capital of Norway and Holmen was thus the main seat of Norway's rulers. It was first enclosed by stone walls in the 1240s.

Of the medieval buildings, a medieval hall and a defensive tower remain. The royal hall, today known as Haakon's Hall, built around 1260, is the largest medieval secular building in Norway. The defensive tower, known in the Middle Ages as the keep by the sea, was built around 1270 by King Magnus VI Lagabøte, and contained a royal apartment on the top floor. In the 1560s it was incorporated by the commander of the castle, Erik Rosenkrantz, into a larger structure, which is today known as the Rosenkrantz Tower.

In the Middle Ages, several churches, including the Christ Church, Bergen's cathedral, were situated on the premises. These however were torn down in the period 1526 to 1531, as the area of Holmen was converted into a purely military fortification under Danish rule. From around this time, the name Bergenhus came into use. Building work on the Christ Church probably started around 1100. It contained the shrine of saint Sunniva, the patron saint of Bergen and western Norway. In the 12th and 13th centuries it was the site of several royal coronations and weddings. It was also the burial site of at least six kings, as well as other members of the royal family. The site of its altar is today marked by a memorial stone.

In the 19th century, the fortress lost its function as a defensive fortification, but it was retained by the military as an administrative base. After restoration in the 1890s, and again after destruction sustained during World War II, Bergenhus is today again used as a feast hall for public events. During World War II, the German navy used several of its buildings for their headquarters, and they also constructed a large concrete bunker within the fortress walls. The buildings, including the Haakon's Hall, were severely damaged when a Dutch ship in the service of the German navy, carrying approximately 120 tons of dynamite, exploded on 20 April 1944 in the harbour just outside the fortress walls, but the buildings were later restored.

Bergenhus is currently under the command of the Royal Norwegian Navy, which has about 150 military personnel stationed there. The fortifications Sverresborg fortress and Fredriksberg fortress also lie in the centre of Bergen. Haakon's Hall and the Rosenkrantz Tower are open for visits by the public. Koengen, the central part of Bergenhus Fortress is also known as a concert venue.