In a circle about 15 km around Amsterdam a defence line was built between 1880 and 1920. When the enemy was coming too close it was the intention to flood the lands outside this line and keep them at a distance of our capital Amsterdam. The line was made by forts, which were supposed to keep dry ofcourse. The forts, or the defence line actually, is on the world heritage list.
The 'Fort bij Abcoude' was in 1885 the first fort to be finished. The fort could house up to 300 soldiers to guard the railroad , roads and waterways to Amsterdam. The improvement of weapons and the invention of high-explosive shell soon made this fort obsolete. The fort is different from the other forts in the sence that all others are made of concrete, with a thin layer of earth so that a explosion would be directed upwards.
The fort is open to the public every 2nd saturday of the months may / september 13:00-17:00, on open monumentday and on fortendag.
Walk around Abcoude
There are several possibilities to have a nice walk around Abcoude. There is a tour sponsored by the municipality. The route and info on what you see (in dutch) can be found on their website. But you can also walk along the different small rivers and enjoy the nature around Abcoude. In april 2005 Gonnie walked 12 km along water and green scenery. Pictures and a route description in the travelogue.
In 1626 the governments of Utrecht and Amsterdam decided to make a towpath between Breukelen and Ouderkerk. A sand towpath is used to tow the boats along the water, this was done either manual or with horses. The sandpath today is a small asfalt road, the Voordijk. Nice to walk along the water. A replica of a rollpole ( a pole used to get the boats around a corner) is placed on the Voordijk, to remember the old days.
Roman Catholic church
In the same street, Kerkstraat (churchstreet), there is the other big church. It is the Roman Catholic one.
At first there was a hiding church behind number 21, from the time the roman catholic churches were banned from the protestant netherlands. But it became to small and in 1886 it was decided a new church should be built. In 1888 the church designed by Alfred Tepe, architect from Utrecht, was ready.
The street where you find these two churches is also interestering because of its houses. They vary a lot in age. The houses on numbers 16 and 18 have certificates of ownership dating back to 1665. Number 18 was had a mill to mill buckwheat to groats for a long time, and sold other kinds of flour too. Today it is just a private house.
Between the numbers 122 and 128 you can see a path leading to the water (Gein). This path can never be built on. It is an old right that people have to use the path when the wish to transport the coffin of the disseased over the water. At the other side of the street there is the graveyard. In the old days it was normal to transport the body over the water, today it is not usual to do so.
A dominant building is the townhall, this is where you are able to discuss matters and receive information concerning the municipality. But it also houses the police department.
The building of this town-and polderhouse in 1882-1883 costed ƒ 12.000,- (about 5500 Euro). In 1883 it stood outside of the village. it always served as a community building where the local government resided.
Dorpskerk (Town Church)
The oldest building in Abcoude is the Dorpskerk. It originally was a roman catholic church dating back to 1491. Today it is home to the protestant church. But the pseudo-basilica form remembers of the catholic days.
At the other end of the street you come across a railroad. This track is one of the oldest of the netherlands. In 1843 the first train passed here between Utrecht and Amsterdam. Today you can still travel regular by train to these two cities.
The old stationbuilding is no longer used and looks like it has to be torn down soon. Tickets for the train have to be bought from ticketmachines.
The street from the station to the centre of Abcoude is called Stationsweg. Coming from the station the first houses on the right look very distinguised. They were build at the end of the 19th century, and all look the same except for some minor details. They are privately owned.
Next you pass the only operational farm in the village, the other farms are outside the living areas of the village.
Then from number 26 to 18 there are some houses with a basement. In the old days rich people lived upstairs and the help lived downstairs in the basement.
At number 10 there is building from 1631, which was restyled in 1895. These dates are clearly seen in the facade in golden numbers.
This street was made in 1685 to connect Amsterdam with Utrecht. Untill 1950 it was the main road between these two cities. Then the highway A2 was made and the village of Abcoude was quiet again.