THE NETHERLANDS – In most countries, the spaces between buildings get gradually bigger as you move further out of a city, while the buildings themselves get gradually smaller before giving way to the countryside. But in the Netherlands, cities just suddenly stop. People who live on the edge of town often live in some of highest buildings in that town, but see cows grazing happily in a uniformly green field when they look out of their window.
There are various reasons why this is like this. To the east of Utrecht, it’s because of a network of forts and installations called De Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie. This was built to allow flooding of certain areas in case of war, and the land in question was strategic and therefore could not be built on.
I have long memories of this area. Of cycling along Gageldijk, which separates the city from the polders (area where water levels can be controlled) to the east. Of going swimming in Maarsseveenseplassen on hundreds of summer days. Or of going with my dad to buy cheese at a farm in sight of the 1960’s high-rise district of Overvecht. Both the farmer’s accent and lifestyle were totally different from that of the city.This entry was posted in De Bilt, Stichtse Vecht, The Netherlands, Utrecht, Utrecht (province)