Bodegraven ( ) 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
municipality of Bodegraven also includes the communities Meije, and Nieuwerbrug.
is centrally located in the Green Heart of the Randstad, roughly
equally distant (about 30 km) from Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The
Hague, and Utrecht.
surrounded by the municipalities (clockwise, starting in the
north): Nieuwkoop, Woerden, Reeuwijk, Boskoop, and
Alphen aan den
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
) perpendicular to the rivers (such as
, and Oude Bodegrave
) between land parcels
and then ditches cross-wise some
1250 meters (4100 ft) from and parallel to the rivers
). This created the distinctive grid pattern
of field divisions. Circa 1350, a lock
was built at Bodegraven.
In 1672 when war
between the Dutch Republic
England, France, Münster, and Cologne, Bodegraven was just behind
the Water Defense Line
. The Water
Line was inundated and formed a barrier to the advancing French
troops. But during the winter the French could
advance over the frozen polders to Meije and Zwammerdam.
reaching Alphen aan den
Rijn they could be repelled by the Dutch.
had set in so the only retreat route was along the dike of the Oude
Rijn. The French therefore came through Bodegraven and destroyed
it. Afterwards, the fort Wierickerschans was built just east of the
Street scene in Bodegraven.
Until 1870 Bodegraven prospered. But in that year fire broke out in
a bakery which subsequently burnt a large part of the town. In all
a 100 homes had burnt down and 130 families were homeless. A
national collection was held and the town quickly recovered.
In the 20th century, Bodegraven expanded: the southside between the
Oude Rijn and the railway was built up circa 1900, the northside
between the World Wars, and since the 1950s the area between the
railway and the A12 Motorway has been built up.
Bodegraven is known as a centre for the cheese trade, controlled by
the powerful Goebel family, though the number of cheese warehouses
has decreased and, the Tuesday Cheese Market is no longer held
since 2001. There still is a cheese museum and a cheese monument in
front of the church.
It was also known for its shampoo
the Andrélon Factory, founded in the 1940s by barber André de Jong.
In 2005 the factory closed and was demolished.
Bodegraven has a strategic location in the middle of the Green
Heart, resulting in a relative high number of industries located
There is a pictuesque historic windmill
located in the town, which dates from the late seventeenth century
and is now known as "De Arkduif" (the 'ark-dove' of the biblical
story). This currently houses
a small brewery called Brouwerij De
The A12 Motorway, running next to Bodegraven, connects The Hague
via Utrecht and Arnhem to the German border. The State Highway N11
connects the A12 with the A4 Motorway
2x per hour, there is a train between Leiden
and Utrecht stopping in Bodegraven.
There is only one bus (Line 178) in Bodegraven, connecting it with
Reeuwijk and Gouda. A local bus (Line 450) drives between the
communities Bodegraven, Zwammerdam, De Meije, Zegveld, Woerden,
Nieuwerbrug, and back to Bodegraven.