Neder-Betuwe

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Ltspkr.pngNeder-Betuwe is a municipality in the eastern Netherlands.

Contents

Geography

The municipal boundaries are for a large part defined by the river Waal to the south, the river Rhine to the North and the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal to the west. Because of the location between the two rivers the area is as narrow as 3 km near Opheusden. The area is basically a polder, dikes protect the former floodplain from flooding. Since it was a floodplain the area is relatively flat and the soil is mainly clay with layers of sand and gravel underneath.

Culture and history

Archaeological excavations have found remains dating back to the stone age and Iron Age although it is not known if the area was permanently inhabited. The Neder-Betuwe area is along the northernmost border or Limes of the Roman empire. Evidence suggests that a Roman fort (Castra) was maintained where the town of Kesteren now is. Around 1300 the first dikes were put up to protect the inhabitants and agricultural lands from flooding.

Most churches are reformed, there are no Catholic churches in the Neder-Betuwe area. The eastern municipal border also marks an invisible religious border, to the east a considerable part of the population is Catholic. This can be explained by the presence of a dike called the Spanjaardsdijk or Spaniards Dike which was built before or during the Eighty Years' War. The local ruler was Protestant, the rulers to the east were Catholic.

During World War II the area saw a lot of fighting. During the German invasion in May 1940 the area was attacked since it was on the southern flank of the attack towards the Grebbeberg. In September 1944 the area again came under fire during and after operation Market Garden. The narrowest part of the Betuwe became the western front of the allied bridgehead in the area. Opheusden was basically ruined because of the constant fighting between the Germans an de 101st Airborne Division and later British forces and the 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade. Ochten was flattened by British forces using artillery and mortars from south of the Waal.

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