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Bodegraven (About this sound pronunciation ) is a town and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. The municipality covers an area of 38.50 km² (14.86 mile²) of which 1.02 km² (0.39 mile²) is water.

The municipality of Bodegraven also includes the communities Meije, and Nieuwerbrug.



Bodegraven is centrally located in the Green Heart of the Randstad, roughly equally distant (about 30 km) from Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht. It is surrounded by the municipalities (clockwise, starting in the north): Nieuwkoop, Woerden, Reeuwijk, Boskoop, and Alphen aan den Rijn.

The town is situated on both shores of the Oude Rijn, in which a set of locks are in the middle of town. The oldest part of town is the Reformed St. Gallus Church, on the north side of the river.


Bodegraven was already inhabited in the Roman Era. It was situated at the Roman Empire's northern border, the Limes Germanicus. As such, many army camps, ports, and roads were built by the Romans. Many settlements originated on the road along the Limes, including Bodegraven.

Not much is known about Bodegraven after that. According to folklore, a lost map from 809 made reference to a fiefdom "Bodelo". There is certainty however that circa 1050 a small settlement had formed, probably near the current Dorpskerk (Village Church). After two centuries of dispute between the bishop of Utrecht and the Counts of Holland, Bodegraven eventually became part of Holland.

In the late Middle Ages, large tracks of land around Bodegraven were prepared for cultivation by digging division ditches (kavelsloten) perpendicular to the rivers (such as Oude Rijn, Meije, and Oude Bodegrave) between land parcels and then ditches cross-wise some 1250 meters (4100 ft) from and parallel to the rivers (achtersloten). This created the distinctive grid pattern of field divisions. Circa 1350, a lock was built at Bodegraven.

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