« AnteriorContinuar »
go abreast. The great rivers are bordered with similar dikes and provided at convenient distances with sluices, by means of which the country can be laid under water on the approach of an enemy. The Dutch have also attempted, in particular situations, to regain portions of their country from the sea, and have actaally succeeded in recovering considerable tracts. These, when surrounded by a dike, admit of being drained and converted into pasture land.
In the eastern provinces, bordering on Germany, the land is somewhat higher, and contains a few elevations but none which deserve the name of mountains. The southern provinces of Hainault, Namur, Liege and Luxemburg are the most elevated portions of the kingilom, and in some parts are mountainous, particularly Luxemburg.
Seas. The Zuyder Zee is a great bay of the German ocean setting up between the provinces of Holland, Utrecht, GelderJand, Overyssel and Friesland, and covering an area of more than 1200 square miles. The Haarlem sea is a lake in the province of Holland, 14 miles long and as many broad, communicating with the Zuyder Zee through the river Y which passes by Amster. dam.
The Biesboch is a large lake or arm of the sea, in the S. E. part of the province of South Holland, between Dort and Gertruydenburg. It was formed in the year 1421, by an inundation of the sea, which burst the dykes and suddenly overwhelmed 72 villages containing 100,000 inhabitants. A few islands are the only remains of this once fruitful tract. The river Maese passes through the lake..
Rivers.] Several navigable rivers terminate their course in this kingdom, all of which rise in other countries. 1. The Rhine comes from Germany and immediately on crossing the frontier divides into two great branches, the most southera of which, called the Waal, flows west and joins the Maese; the northern branch before arriving at Arpheim again divides into two streams, of which one, assuming the name of Yssel, takes a northerly direction, and falls into the Zuyder Zee, while the main branch proceeds from Aroheim to Wyk, where it once more forms two streams; the larger called the Leck joins the Maese above Rotterdam, while the branch still bearing the name of the Rhine, now reduced to a comparatively insignificant river, proceeds by Utrecht and Ley. den to the sea. 2. The Maese or Meuse rises in France and in its progress through the Netherlands receives the Sambre at Namor, the Qurthe at Liege, the Roer or Ruhr at Rubrmonde, and the Waal at Loevestein, soon after which it divides and passes under parious names to the German ocean. 3. The Scheldt rises in France, and in its progress through the Netherlands receives the Lys at Ghent, the Dender at Dendermonde, at Ropelmonde the Rupel (which is formed by the union of the Dyle and the Great and Little Neethe) after which it passes by Antwerp and dividing into two principal branches, called the East and West Scheldt, forms at its mouth the islands of Zealand.
Cmals.] It would be difficult to describe the different canals, great and small, with which the northern provinces are intersected, for they are as numerous as the public roads of other countries. The common mode of travelling is not along road in carriages, but along a canal in large covered boats; these are drawn by horses, and though not expeditious, present a more cheap and easy method of proceeding than by land.
Climate.) The summers are warmer and the winters colder than in England, the rivers, canals, and harbors being often frozen while those of England are open. In the maritime provinces the climate is moist, variable, and owing to the numerous marshes, subject to fogs, which would become extremely noxious, were it not for the dry easterly wiods of the winter months. The least healthy districts are Zealand and North Holland.
Soil and Productions.] The soil of the Netherlands is in genéral fruitful, the Dutch part affording rich pasture, while the Belgic part, especially Flanders, abounds with excellent corn land. There are, however, considerable exceptions: in the duchy of Luxemburg, and part of the provinces of Liege and Namur, the soil is stony and barred; North. Prábani, Overyssel and Drenthe contain a number of marshes and forests; and the barren heath of Bourtrang occupies a considerable part of Groningen.
In the Belgic provinces agriculture has long been attended to with care; and this, added to an excellent soil, has rendered them one of the most productive countries of Europe. In the richest parts, the farmers leave no fallows, but raise a constant succession of crops, without any sensible diminution of the produce. The Dutch provinces do not produce much grain; their wealth consists in pasture. Large numbers of cattle are fattened liere. Here also are made butter and cheese of superior quality, and in vast quantities, for export to England and other countries. The other productions, common to the southero and northern prova inces, are flax, hemp, tobacco, hops, madder and fruit.
Animals and Minerals.] The domestic animals, particularly borees and cattle, are of a large size, owing, doubtless, to the richness of the pastures. The breed of sheep is good, and the wool, though inferior to that of Spain, is in considerable request. The rivers, lakes and coasts abound in fish. Of minerals, there are none in the northern provinces : turf is there the great material for fuel. In Namur and Liege there are some valuable strata of coal, which were long neglected, but are now wrought. Near Namur and throughout the mountainous part of Luxemburg are mines of iron, with some lead and corper.
Chief Towns.] Amsterdam, the largest, richest, and most populous city in the Netherlands, and aiter London and Hamburgh the most commercial city in Europe, is situated in a low marsh on the south side of the river or inlet called Y, which connects the Haarlem lake with the Zuyder Zee. The small river Amstel, from which the city derives its name, divides it into the ald or eastcra and the new or western town. From the marsly
nature of the soil, it has been necessary to build almost the whole city on oaken piles driven into the ground. The streets are broad and well lighted and several of them lined with trees ; and a great number of canals intersect the city in every direction. On the land side it is defended by a wall and regular bastions, with a broad and deep ditch, and by means of sluices the whole adjoining country can be laid under water at very short notice. Towards the sea it is provided with no fortifications; but the entrance to the harbor is guarded by two rows of piles, having openings at intervals for the admission of vessels; these are always shut at night. The most elegant and splendid edifice, not only in Amsterdam, but perhaps in the whole of Holland, is the stadthouse. It stands nearly in the centre of the town, on an open square, and is 282 feet long, 235 broad, and without reckoning the tower, 116 high, built principally of freestone, on a foundation of 13,659 piles, at an expense of £300,000. The commerce of Amsterdam suffered severely during the late war in Europe, and it is doubtful whether it will ever again attain its former prosperity. The population in 1817 was 230,000.
Brussels, the largest city in the Belgic provinces, and one of the most splendid in Europe, is situated in Brabant, 23 miles south of Antwerp, partly in a plain and partly on a hill, at the foot of which flows the river Senne, a branch of the Dyle. It has many elegant buildings and squares, but the chief ornament of Brussels is its public walks, no city in Europe possessing one superior to that which is called the “Green Alley," or to the great interior square called the Park,” which is a kind of public garden intersected by beautiful alleys bordered with trees and ornamented with a number of statues of white marble. The public fountains are 20 in number, and are all embellished with sculptures.
The manufactures of Brussels are celebrated throughout Europe, particularly its lace, camlets and carpets; the first alone employs nearly 10,000 individuals. Brussels is also celebrated for its manufacture of carriages, which, for cheapness and elegance, surpass those of London and Paris. The city carries on considerable trade, not only with the interior of the Netherlands, but with foreign countries, by means of the canals which bring it into communication with the Scheldt. Brussels has of late become a favorite place of resort for the English and other travellers, from its vicinity to the field of Waterloo. The population, according to a census taken in 1316, was 80,000.
Antwerp, a large and well built city of Brabant, is situated on the Scheldt, which is here 1,600 feet broad and very deep, affording a commodious haven for more than 1,000 vessels. By means of numerous canals these vessels can penetrate into the very heart of the town and there deposit their cargoes. In the sixteenth century Antwerp was the greatest place of trade in Europe, and contained 200,000 inhabitants, buithe commerce
of the city was destroyed in 1648, when, by a stipulation in the treaty of Westphalia, between Spain and Holland, the navigation of the Scbeldt was closed, the design of the Dutch being to turn the trade towards Amsterdam. Antwerp and Amsterdam are now under the same government, and the navigation of the river being open, commerce has begun to revive. The population of the town is 6:,000, and is on the increase.
The Hague, a large and beautiful town, 30 miles S. W. of Amsterdam, and nearly 3 from the sea coast, was formerly the residence of the stadtholder of the Dutcb provinces, and is now along with Brussels, the alternate residence of the king and his court It is an open town, being surrounded only by a moat with drawbridges, but in the beauty of its streets, the stateliness of its buildings, and the pleasantness of its situation, it yields to few cities in Europe. The Hague was never a place of trade ; and the inhabitants have consequently little of the mercantile character of their countrymen, but more of the easy manners of fashionable life. The population in 1817 was 42,000.
Rotterdam, the most commercial city in the Netherlands after Amsterdam, is 14 miles Ș. E. of the Hague, on the N. bank of the Maese, which here resembles an arm of the sea, although nearly 20 miles from its mouth. It is intersected, even more than other towns in Holland, by canals, almost all of which are bordered with trees and admit vessels of large burden into the centre of the city. The population is about 56,000.
Ghent is situated 30 miles S. W. of Antwerp in a beautiful plain on the Scheldt, where that river is joined by the Lys. These rivers, with two smaller streams (the Lievre and the More) and å number of navigable canals, divide the town into no less than 26 islands, which are joioed together by upwards of 300 small wooden bridges. The city contains many beautiful churches and public buildings, a university, a botanical garden and 61,000 inhabitants. The manifactures consist of fine lace, linen, and in a more limited degree, of silk and woollens, but the great branch is cotton goods, which employs 20,000 persons. Considerable. commerce is carried on, which is much promoted by a canal on a large scale connecting Ghent with Bruges. The treaty of peace between Great Britain and the United States of America was signed here Dec. 24, 1814.
Liege is situated in a plesant valley on the Maese at its conHuence with the Ourthe, in the midst of a country abounding with coal and iron. It is extensively engaged in the manufacture of hardware articles, and is particularly famous for its fire-arms, both cannon and muskets. The manufacture of nails employs from 10,000 to 14,000 workmen in the town and nighborhood. The population is 46,000.
Dort, in South Holland, 11 miles S. E. of Rotterdam, is on an island formed by the Maese and the Biesboch. It carries on considerable trade particularly in wood, which is brought down the Rhine in immense floats from Germany and sold here. It is also
famous for the synod of Protestant divines which met here ip 1618 and 1619 and condemned the tenets of Arminius. Population 19,400.
Ostend, the principal port on the coast of Flanders, carries on considerable trade, and is the station whence the post office packets sail regularly twice a week for Dover in England. The population is 10,500. Bruges, 12 miles E. of Ostend, was in the 14th century one of the greatest commercial towns in Europe, and still carries on considerable trade, for which it is finely situated, being the central point in which all the canals in Flanders meet. The population in 1816 was 45,000. Namur, 30 miles S. W. of Liege, at the confluence of the Sambre and the Maese, has extensive manufactures of fire arms, swords, knives, scissors, and other articles of iron, copper and brass. Population 15,000. Louvain, celebrated for its university, is on the Dyle, 20 miles S. E. of Antwerp, and contains 25,000 inhabitants. Leyden, famous for its university, is on the Rhine, 10 miles N. E. of 'he Hague and contains 31,000 inhabitants. Utrecht, on the Rbine, 18 miles S. S. E. of Amsterdam, has also an university, and is famous for two important treaties of peace signed here. It contains 35.000 inhabitants. Luxemburg, the capital of the grand duchy of Luxemburg, on the small river Alzeete, near the S. E. corner of the kingdom, is one of the strongest places in Europe and contains 9000 inhabitants.
Helvoetsluys, in South Holland, on the south side of the island of Voorn, has an excellent harbor and extensive magazines and dockyards for the construction and repair of ships of war. It is also the regular station for packets to England. Flushing, an important seaport in the island of Walcheren, on the north side of the West Scheldt, at the entrance of that river into the North sea, has a fine harbor with two basins, one of wbich is sufficiently deep and capacious to contain a fleet of men of war. It is a noted resort of English smugglers both in peace and war. Middleburg, near the centre of the island of Walcheren, 4 miles north of Flushing, has an artificial harbor, communicating with the sea by a canal 4 miles lang.
Spa, 20 miles S. E. of Leige is famous for its medicinal springs, which are resorted to by the opulent from Germany, France and England. The village of Waterloo, famous for the battle of the 18th of June 1815, between the allied British, Belgian, and German troops under the duke of Wellington and the French under Bonaparte, is 12 miles south of Brussels.
Education.) The university at Leyden, established in 1575, has 21 professors and 300 students, a valuable botanic garden, a cabinet of natural history, an anatomical theatre, an observatory, and a library of 40,000 volumes. There are also universities of several centuries standing at Louvain, Utrecht, and Groningen; and in 1816 two new ones were established by a royal edict, one at Ghent and the other at Liege.
The means of education are very generally diffused throughgut the Netherlands. In the Dutch provinces there is a regular