Flood route Dordrecht

Flood route

The water: sometimes a friend and sometimes an enemy.

The city of Dordrecht and water are inextricably linked. Harbors, level gauges and flood stones hide facts and stories that make Dordrecht a true city of water. The walking tour passes many 'high water spots' that show how Dordrecht's inner city has dealt with high water in the past centuries.


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Nieuwstraat shopping Tea shop No.28

Nieuwstraat-to a higher level


The starting and ending point of the route is Statenplein. From this square, walk down Nieuwstraat to a noticeably higher level, toward Voorstraat. Without realizing it, you come to a dike. It is not just any dike: it is the lowest sea dike in the Netherlands. This
shopping street has the task of protecting Dordrecht from high water.

Shop Voorstraat Noord Dordrecht

Voorstraat - Dutch lowest seawall

Voorstraat 256 B

A dike needs to be raised from time to time. But how do you do that if there are houses on it? It happened sparsely, too little. Things went well for a long time, until 1916, when the water level rose to 3.43 m above sea level. For the first time, the Voorstraat turned out not to be high enough and the water ran over it. In 1953, the level was even higher, namely 3.73 metres above sea level. The Voorstraat is now just as high as it was a hundred years ago.

Nieuwbrug Dordrecht - monument

Taankade - low beside the water


A set of stairs next to the Nieuwbrug, built in 1851, leads to the Taankade. The Taankade was only extended to Nieuwbrug in 1961. Before that, the harbour was wider and the water reached the houses and gardens. The raised gardens and windows can still be seen, well above the dreaded high water levels. The Taankade is one of the first streets to be flooded during high water. The street section lies 1.96 metres above sea level.

Flood route

Turf jetty - flood boards against weak spot

Turf jetty

Along the elongated harbors are sixteen jetties, alleys that lead to the water. The jetties were formerly used for supply and removal of goods. The buildings here have holes through which high water can flow in from the harbor during heavy weather. The
city council already found a solution in the form of flood boards after the 1916 flood. In the absence of a watertight solution, the system still exists. However, the system has been modified slightly. The planks have been replaced by steel sliders called flood bulkheads.

Facade stone Dordrecht

Riedijk - swaying boatmen


Like every waterfront city, Dordrecht also had an entertainment district. Until shortly after World War II, the Riedijk and its surroundings were there for Dordrechters, foreigners and sailors. The enticements consisted of cafes, inns, brothels and liquor stores. The
facade stone of the Kleinschippers Gildehuis (No. 102) still refers to the distant past.
At the transition to the new construction, the Riedijk shows an elevation. Before the new houses were built, around 1990, the flood barrier here was raised to Delta height. Actually, the entire Riedijk and Voorstraat should be at this level.


Papendrechts veer - travelling by water

The Papendrechtse Veer was the arrival point of many travellers for hundreds of years. They had to step ashore at the Veerhuis (1868), because there were no fixed shore connections. The current Waterbus is part of a unique network of public transport over water, with stops as far away as Rotterdam. Floating pontoons were used to create mobile moorings. This is handy when there is a big difference between high and low tide.


Groothoofd - busiest river junction in Europe


At the Groothoofd, the walker has a great view of the point where three major rivers and one minor one meet. So the Three Rivers Point, as this spot is called, is actually
a four-river point. To the left flows the Old Meuse, before the North and to the right flows the Lower Merwede. Invisible from this point, the Wantij also joins the rivers on the right. . With 150,000
passing ships per year, the rivers are the busiest junction in Europe.

Flood route

Wolwevershaven - Water over the quay

Wolwevershaven 20

The Wolwevershaven is both the name of the harbor and the quay. The port's name comes from the many cloth weavers who settled here in the seventeenth century. The city council had the Wolwevershaven dug in 1609. The quay, like numerous other places located outside the dikes, regularly suffered from flooding in the past. This happened mainly during a northwest storm at sea, but sometimes also when there was an abundant supply of meltwater and rainwater drained by the Rhine. With a height of 2.25 meters above sea level the
water soon reached the - elevated - doors. Severe flooding occurred in 1916, but also in 1928, 1954, 1962 and 1965. And of course in 1953, at The Disaster on Feb. 1. The nuisance
diminished after 1970, when the Haringvliet was closed and the differences between ebb and flood were greatly reduced.

Visiting Dordrecht - Nieuwe Haven

Nieuwe Haven / Knolhaven - Pleasure boating at a wonderful bridge


After the stone Roo Bridge, the connection between the two harbors, continue to the Knolhaven. It is not a harbor, but the name of a quay, along the Nieuwe Haven. It is the home port of the Royal Dordrecht Rowing and Sailing Association. On the Knolhaven was also the fish market. On the left is a little square with the unique cast-iron awning of the fish market. Spread across the Nieuwe Haven is the wondrous Long Iron Bridge. The bridge, with a movable center section, replaced a wooden bridge in 1855. Its iron successor was designed by city architect Itz. The digging of the New Harbor began in 1409. After completion, lumber merchants settled on Knolhaven side.
On the other side of the bridge, where the quay is also called Nieuwe Haven, warehouses and businesses stood for a long time. Now it is a real residential street.

Flood route

Engelenburgerbrug - Houses in the water


The houses near the Engelenburgerbrug make it clear at once: Dordrecht, city on the water. The residents take for granted that their dwellings sometimes flood during high tide or have taken
have taken measures on the facades. Near the bridge is a level gauge.

Flood route

Tide Stone - Escaped the Disaster

Korte Engelenburgerkade 2A

At the end of Korte Engelenburgerkade, an elongated warehouse stands on the right. Between the signs Nuremberg and England, a flood stone can be seen at eye level. That's how high the water rose in 1953 during the flood. On February 1, 1953, 1,835 people died on the Zeeland and South Holland Islands, when a heavy storm helped by spring tides caused dikes to fail. In Dordrecht, two people were killed. The city escaped The Disaster, although all inner and outer dike areas of the inner city were flooded. That a tragedy did not occur was due to the efforts of hundreds of Dordrecht citizens,
but mainly to a tragedy elsewhere. In 's-Gravendeel, a crucial dike collapsed and a large part of the Hoeksche Waard flooded, suddenly reducing the pressure on the Dordrecht dikes. In 's-Gravendeel, 37 people drowned.

Great Church - Flood Trail

Hooikade - high doors and windows


At 2.25 meters above sea level, the Hooikade will flood fairly quickly during high river levels or a northwest storm. It can be seen from the houses that flooding was already taken into account during construction.
flooding. For example, doors and sills have been raised one level so that the water from the Old Meuse cannot enter quickly. The living level is also often higher. At the end of the Hooikade, the Waterbus to Zwijndrecht moors.


The Grote Kerk, with its characteristic stubby tower, has been Dordrecht's landmark structure for centuries. The foundations of the tower, which extend 7.5 meters underground, were probably begun in 1339. The twelve million kilograms of masonry rests on a
relatively firm clayey peat soil. People lived here as early as the twelfth century, around a small tufa church. The inhabitants probably raised the site slightly, in the form of a mound, which made them less vulnerable to the water.

Grote Kerk Dordrecht

Pottenkade - Waste collection point


The location on the water requires extra maintenance of the houses. In the 1990s, large parts of flooded Dordrecht were restored in a special way. Construction workers replaced the stones of the nearly disintegrating walls, up to two metres below water level. They also installed stainless steel pipes, which serve as sewers. For a long time, the harbour had been a dumping ground for decaying household waste, slaughter remnants and animal and human excrement. Now you can swim in it.

Dordrecht City Hall

City Hall - House on and across the water

Voorstraat 367

Via the Pelser Bridge and Voorstraat-west, you reach the City Hall, part of which spans the Voorstraat harbor. It was built in 1383 as a covered market hall for cloth. In 1544, the administrators of Dordrecht occupied the hall as `Stedehuys'. In 1975, the college administration and their officials moved to the modern City Office on the Spuiboulevard. The city council still meets here. Tide stones can be seen under the left lion.


Fish bridge - Gothic above the harbour

Voorstraat 347

From the Visbrug, the original Gothic style of the Town Hall is clearly visible. The arches above the windows are important features.

Flood route Dordrecht

Scheffersplein - Harbour overpass

Tolbrug 3

Walk across Scheffersplein to Wijnstraat. Square is a deceptive word in this case. The "square" is in fact the covering of a bridge. The square bridge is an overpass of the
Voorstraatshaven. Soon you will see for yourself.


Wine Bridge - 'Venice of the North

Wine Bridge

The Wine Bridge gives a nice view of the Scheffers' Square. The terraces rest on the site of the former Toll Bridge. The wooden structure was replaced a few hundred years ago by a stone vault, which lifted the square, so to speak. In 1854, the city council decided to reinforce the bridge. On the Wijnbrug side, fourteen cast-iron trusses were installed, at the time the largest cast-iron span in the Netherlands. The addition of two sections widened the square bridge.
The other side of the Wijnbrug shows Dordrecht at its most beautiful. Not for nothing did travelers in the past describe the city as "The Venice of the North" and "galley in the water. Just walk on and you are back on the Statenplein.

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