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Gorinchem, nestled between the Linge and Merwede rivers, is truly a fortified city. Early in the 17th century, this medieval city was ‘modernised’ with brand-new fortifications. The Eighty Years’ War was in full fury and the fortifications kept the Spaniards at bay.
In 1672, a year known in Dutch as the Rampjaar (disaster year), when the Dutch Republic was simultaneously attacked by England, France, and the prince-bishop of Münster and archbishop of Cologne, Gorinchem was an important stronghold in the old ‘Dutch Water Line’ defence system. When the New Water Line was established Gorinchem remained a strategic stronghold. The original city earthwork ramparts with bastions are almost completely intact, making Gorinchem the largest authentic fortified city in the Netherlands.