Two Dutch sites named UNESCO World Heritage sites; Third location to be discussed
Two different cultural sites in the Netherlands were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List on Monday. The new water defence lines and the Colonies of Benevolence became the 11th and 12th locations from the Netherlands on the list.
A Dutch and German portion of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire was also going to be discussed by the World Heritage Committee later this week. There are over a thousand World Heritage Sites in total.
The Defence Lines of the were constructed on orders of King Willem I in the early 19th century as a system of waterworks to protect the country against its enemies and to defend against high water. It is an 85-kilometer long route from Biesbosch to Muiden. It includes the Muiderslot and Slot Lovestein castles, the fortresses of Gorinchem, Muiden, Naarden, Nieuwersluis, Weesp and Woudrichem, and four-dozen forts.
The Defence Line was extended to Amsterdam towards the end of that century. It has been on the UNESCO list since 1996. The organization describes it as, "Extending 135 km around the city of Amsterdam, this defence line (built between 1883 and 1920) is the only example of a fortification based on the principle of controlling the waters."
Later in the day, the World Heritage Committee added the Colonies of Benevolence from Belgium and the Netherlands on the list.
It is located in Frederiksoord, Veenhuizen, and Wilhelminaoord in Drenthe, and in Wortel, just south of the Dutch border with Belgium. The Society of Benevolence built the seven sub-sites starting in 1818, "to reduce poverty through social employment in new agricultural settlements," UNESCO stated.
"The colonies were established either as ‘free’ - for families who received the chance to run small farms, or ‘unfree’ - as large collective structures for vagrants and orphans," the organization added. "The Colonies of Benevolence pioneered a new public private approach based on investments in agriculture on barren land, providing access to education and employment, and preserving ‘peace and order' in society on the one hand, but also 'false assumptions about the make-ability and productivity of people and land' on the other."
Poor people in cities were given plots of land and cattle so they could become self-sufficient, and their children were given an education.
The Roman Limes was a northern border of the Roman Empire which had territory in the Netherlands extending to include Nijmegen, which along with Voorburg, is one of two cities with Roman origins. The World Heritage Committee will consider adding them this week as the 13th UNESCO site in the Netherlands.
The UNESCO submission was made by 20 Dutch municipalities, three provinces, and two German states.