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Dordrecht Ancient Capital of Holland

Counts of Holland Arms.svg Wapendordrecht
Coat of arms of the County of Holland Coat of arms of Dordrecht

Tourist Events Dordrecht in 2013

Dordrecht is one of the cities in the Netherlands that hosts the most events. Four highlights are given below.


Dordrecht's book market: Sunday 7 July 2013

A large book fair will be held on the first Sunday of July. From 10:00 to 17:30, antiquarian and second hand books will be for sale on almost 600 stands. Antiquarian book traders from throughout the Netherlands will have their most attractive books on display during this enticing market in the historic inner city. For ardent readers, collectors and everyone who is looking for a good book! Musical performances and other activities can be enjoyed at various locations. The art and antique shops of the Kunstrondje Dordt (Dordrecht Art Walk) are also open.


Big Rivers Festival:  12-14 July 2013

This free music festival starts in the week of 4 to 14 July with a Blues Cruise, the sing along festival Operade, an open air film, a music and poetry evening and other activities.  Watch and listen at the numerous stages in the inner city where bands will play to the public for free. Dance with us in a great atmosphere!


Open Monument Days Dordrecht : 14-15 September 2013

Dordrecht has around one thousand monuments. During the Open Monuments Days in the second weekend of September, almost 60 monuments and museums can be visited in the oldest city of Holland. Sneak a view of the oldest house in Dordrecht, visit the historic town hall or take a look at just one of the buildings that are specially opened for the occasion. Music ensembles will perform in many churches and buildings. On both days, there are also free city walks starting from 'Intree Dordrecht'. The Open Monumentendagen Dordrecht (Open Monuments Days Dordrecht) booklet is available from the start of September from the VVV (tourist office).


Saint Nicolas house:17 November-4 December 2013

From mid November, Saint Nicolas (a Dutch version of Father Christmas) takes up residence in the Saint Nicolas house in Dordrecht, which has been specially equipped for him and his retinue. The city puts a stylish home at his disposal. Enter the house and first visit Saint Nicolas himself. You can also take a look in the bathroom, the bedroom, the room where the presents are kept and the bakery where ginger nuts are made and where you can decorate a typically Dutch Taai-taai (a sort of rubbery biscuit) doll. The Saint Nicolas house is open from 17 November up to and including 4 December.

Christmas Market Dordrecht: 13-15 December 2013

During the Christmas market, the atmosphere in the historic inner city of Dordrecht is totally transformed into one of Christmas. The decorated stalls surround the medieval Grote Kerk, line the monumental Groenmarkt, bathe in the light of the illuminated Stadhuis and adorn the Voorstraat. Choirs and bands, hot snacks and a real Christmas skating rink on the Scheffersplein add to the atmosphere and pleasure. Enjoy the attractive Christmas trees and sing along with singers on the Stadhuisplein.

 Dordt in Stoom 2014: May 23, 24 and 25

In 2014, the largest steam power event in Europe will be held for the fiftteenth time in Dordrecht (the Netherlands). Organisers expect 250,000 visitors at this steam celebration. Admission to ‘Dordt in Steam’ is free. Day-tickets will be sold for round trips on historic transport (the ‘Steam circuit Dordt’ - Stoomrondje Dordt).

Selfmade flat-bottomed boat race on May 23

On friday, 1 June 2012 (16.15 hours), before the impressive naval parade on the river students of different schools in Dordrecht will have a race with their selfmade flat-bottomed boats at Groothoofd.

Naval parade on May 23

On friday evening, 1 June 2012, Dordt in Steam will open with an impressive naval parade on the river. This spectacle can be seen for free from the Groothoofd and the Merwekade between 20.00 and 21.30 hours.

Steam circuit Dordt

The gigantic event is spread across two areas in the city which are linked with (steam)ships, steam trains and old-timer busses. By purchasing a day-ticket for the ‘Steam circuit Dordt’, the visitor will have access to the various forms of historic transport at the event. It also includes admission to the Model Building Show. The day-ticket for the ‘Steam circuit Dordt’ is available at all departure points. Be aware that a round trip lasts at least three hours!

Groothoofd, Wolwevershaven & Merwekade

In the picturesque harbour area next to the Groothoofd, Kuipershaven, Wolwevershaven and the Merwekade, dozens of steam-powered ships, machines and vehicles will be on view. Steamboats will be making round trips on the river. For children, miniature steam trains will be operating. Various (steam)ships will be open for visitors. Sidewalk cafes and live music will provide a sparkling atmosphere. In the Wolweversharborarea ships and facades will be magical highlighted on Saturday evening.


On the Grevelingenweg, near the Hollandse Biesbosch nature reserve, a large model building show will be organised. International participants will display model trains, miniature steam powered machinery and model ships.

For all information about Dordrecht, Dordt in Stoom, reservations, tickets, roundtrips ‘Stoomrondjes Dordt ’and hotel reservations during Dordt in Stoom 2012:

Stichting Dordt in Stoom / VVV Zuid Holland-Zuid

Spuiboulevard 99 3311 GN Dordrecht

Phone 0900 4636888, Fax +31 78 61 31 783

internet , email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A video and pictures from Dordt in Stoom 2012

A selfmade flash slideshow of Dordt in Stoom 2008 .

Panorama Old Meuse river with Old Meuse bridge and steam-train, in the backgroud the Dordrecht Minster

Panorama Merwede river with view on the Groothoofds gate

Kuipers harbor, view to the river

Kuipers harbor, view to the Dordrecht Minster

Wolwevers harbor by night


Dordrechts Museum


Dordrechts Museum at the Museumstraat

The Dordrechts Museum, where they have a decent tea room with a view on a spacious garden, you can see old paintings from Dutch painters from the 15-19th century, including Albert Cuyp.

The most perfect collection of paintings from famous Dutch painters. some of them born at Dordrecht, you can find at the Dortsch Museum website, worth a visit to look at the beautiful paintings yourself. You can also look at some famous paintings and drawings from painters who were born and lived at Dordrecht on my Painters pages.

Museum Mr. Simon van Gijn

Museum Mr. Simon van Gijn at the New Harbor

Mr. Simon van Gijn, was a banker and accumulator (1864-1922). In his testament he left all his positions to Dordrecht. A nice museum with old dolls and toys of the 19th century, worth a visit. Museum van Gijn

There are several other museums in Dordrecht like :

Museum 1940-1945

Museum The Sleutel (beer museum)

In Zwijndrecht, opposite the river Old Meuse, a nice museum about World-War 2 with many original Tanks, Cars, etc.

Dutch National Park the Biesbosch

De Biesbosch ('forest of sedges' or 'rushwoods'), is one of the largest national parks of the Netherlands and one of the last freshwater tide areas in Europe. The Biesbosch consists of a rather large network of rivers and smaller and larger creeks with islands. The vegetation is mostly willow forests, although wet grasslands and fields of reed are common as well. The Biesbosch is an important wetland area for waterfowl and has a rich flora and fauna. It is especially important for migrating geese.

History of the Biesbosch

The Groote or Hollandsche Waard before the St. Elisabeth flood
click image to enlarge

The Biesbosch was created when 300 square kilometres of polder lands were submerged in the St. Elizabeth flood in the year 1421. Before this, the area was called Grote Hollandse Waard, containing cultivated land and a number of villages. The more than a century old dikes collapsed because of lack of maintenance, due to the difficult economic situation in the area, and the difficulties between the political entities within (especially the Hook and Cod (civil) wars)

One of the key factors in the flooding of the Grote Waard was the creation of a new dike in the southwest of the polder near the village of Broecke (on the spot of the present Moerdijk bridges). The ground beneath this dike was unstable, which was a known fact in this period of time. However, political rivalry and financial issues (combined with the general opinion that "nothing will happen anyway", a sort of overconfidence) resulted in the creation of an unstable dike, located at one of the key corners of the Grote Waard. It was the only place where high tides coming directly from the North Sea could penetrate the land deeply and could reach a primary "keystone" dike of the Grote Waard (most of the primary dikes were used as protection against rivers instead).

The St. Elizabeth flood (November 18, 1421) or the collapse of the Hollandsche Waard

Very high river levels combined with a severe storm surge coming in from the sea caused the collapse of the southwest dike and several riverdikes, resulting in the flooding of most of the Grote Hollandse Waard. After the flood, three areas remained: the Island of Dordrecht to the west, the Land van Altena (with the city of Woudrichem) to the east, and the brackish swamps of the Biesbosch in between. Many villages (by tradition 72) were swallowed by the flood and were lost, causing (again by tradition) either 2,000 or 10,000 casualties. Some towns had more luck and submerged, only to rise above the water later on. Many Rhine-Meuse delta branches that were closed off from the main rivers and served as drainage bodies of the Grote Waard, also disappeared. These include the Dubbel (the name of which survives in Dubbeldam), Eem, Werken (after which Werkendam is named), Alm (which lent its name to Almkerk; the eastern part survived) and most of the main drainage stream: the Oude Maas (a small part survives in the form of the Oude Maasje

The most important of these drainage bodies of the Grote Waard were the Hollands Diep (to the southwest) and the (shallow) Bergse Veld (to the southeast). Both were connected to the Haringvliet which existed before the disaster as a pure seawater inlet of the North Sea. After the disaster it became brackish and an important estuary of the rivers Rhine and Meuse. A persistent misunderstanding is that the Biesbosch arose by this storm flood in one night. It is true that this flood broke dikes of the then Grote Hollandse Waard or Zuid Hollandse Waard, but it needed dozens of years before the whole area was under water and had changed to the Biesbosch with its creeks and reeds.

The Biesbosch seen from the North
click image to enlarge

The Biesbosch is now the furthest inland body of water and a fairly large nature reserve, now partly on and opposite to the Island of Dordrecht. where the tides are still experienced. Until the 1960s the tide between ebb and flood had a difference of almost 2,5 meters, after the Delta works were finished the Biesosch lost its direct connection to the North Sea and from that time on the difference between ebb and flood is about 1 meter.

The dotted line is the canal New Merwede dug in 1870
click imae to enlarge

In former days the whole Biesbosch was part of the province of South-Holland, called the Hollandsche or Groote Waard. In 1870 a new canal (New Merwede) was digged across the Hollandse Waard to form a branch in the Rhine-Meuse delta. It was dug along the general trajectories of a number of minor Biesbosch creeks to reduce the risk of flooding by diverting the water away from the Beneden Merwede, and to facilitate navigation and regulate river traffic in the increasingly silted-up delta. The part of the Biesbosch south of the new canal was assigned to the province of North-Brabant.

 The story of the Saint Elisabeth flood you can find on this website.

If you like more informationabout a visit, a trip by boat or a trip with a rent-boat to sail through the Kreken (Canals) yourself, go to the website of the Visitors-Center of The Biesbosch and you find a lot of information about travel routes and a permanent exposition etc. HERE and HERE.

 Some videos and Pictures from the Biesbosch


Panorama view of The Biesbosch.


Small island in the Biesbosch



Water nature in the Biesbosch


Kreek (nature canal) in the Biesbosch


Water nature in the Biesbosch


Kreek (nature canal) in the Biesbosch


Kreek (nature canal) in the Biesbosch



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