World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Oude Rijn (Utrecht and South Holland)


Oude Rijn (Utrecht and South Holland)

For the Oude Rijn branch in Gelderland Province, see: Oude Rijn (Gelderland).
Oude Rijn
Old Rhine
The Oude Rijn in Leiden.
Country Netherlands
Regions Utrecht, South Holland
Source Leidse Rijn
 - location Harmelen, Utrecht
 - coordinates
Mouth North Sea
 - location Katwijk, South Holland
 - coordinates
Length 52 km (32 mi)
Location of Oude Rijn in dark blue.

The Oude Rijn (Old Rhine) is a branch of the Rhine delta in the Dutch provinces of Utrecht and South Holland. Its present-day length is 52 kilometres.

In Roman times, it was the main Rhine branch, forming the northern border of the Roman Empire. In medieval times, it was used for river transport and there is a towpath along large sections of the river, many parts of which have been upgraded to roads over time. The river silted up in the course of the Middle Ages and had lost all of its importance by the 17th century.


The city of Utrecht was founded at a ford (crossing) near the fork of river Kromme Rijn into the Vecht to the north, and the Oude Rijn to the west. Of the original fork, little remains today and both Vecht and Rijn start from the city moat. For the first few kilometres of its course, the river is channelised and known as Leidse Rijn (Leiden Rhine). It becomes the Oude Rijn after the railway bridge near Harmelen (municipality Woerden). Then it flows westward through Woerden where first the river Lange Linschoten branches off to the south and then the Oude Rijn forms part of the city moats.

After Woerden, the river Grecht branches off to the north and the Oude Rijn continues through the towns of Nieuwerbrug, Bodegraven, and Zwammerdam. Here the river De Meije ends into the Oude Rijn. In Alphen aan den Rijn, the Aar Canal ends in the Oude Rijn at the same location where the river Gouwe branches off to the south. It flows then along Koudekerk aan den Rijn and Hazerswoude-Rijndijk (both part of the municipality of Rijnwoude).

After Zoeterwoude-Rijndijk and Leiderdorp (where the short river Does ends), the Oude Rijn flows through Leiden. Here starts the Rhine-Schie Canal (to the south) and the stream Zijl (to the north). The Nieuwe Rijn (New Rhine) is a short branch that together with the Oude Rijn are part of Leiden's moat system and both branches merge in the city's centre.

The stream Korte Vliet discharges into the Oude Rijn and it continues through Valkenburg and Rijnsburg to Katwijk. At Katwijk aan den Rijn the oegstgeesterkanaal merges with the Oude Rijn. From here the river has been straightened into a canal (also called Uitwateringkanaal) and ends into the North Sea through a pumping station, preventing high tides inland and silting up of the river mouth.

Roman era

In Roman times, the river Oude Rijn, which was much wider, formed part of the Roman Empire's northern border (Limes Germanicus). Many of the border-guarding castella and castra along the river evolved into cities and villages, including: Laurum (Woerden), Nigrum Pullum (Zwammerdam), Albaniana (Alphen aan den Rijn), Matilo (Leiderdorp), Praetorium Agrippinae (Valkenburg), and Lugdunum Batavorum (Katwijk).

In Valkenburg, the layout of the Roman castellum has been marked in the pavement.

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.