(called Kesteren until 2003) is a municipality in the eastern Netherlands.
The municipal boundaries are for a large part defined by the river Waal
to the south, the river Rhine
to the North and the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal
to the west. Because of the location between the two rivers the area is as narrow as 3 km near Opheusden.
The area is basically a polder
protect the former floodplane
from flooding. Since it was a floodplain the area is relatively flat and the soil is mainly clay
with layers of sand
Culture and history
excavations have found remains dating back to the stone age
and Iron Age
although it is not known if the area was permanently inhabited. The Neder-Betuwe area is along the northernmost border or Limes
of the Roman empire
. Evidence suggests that a Roman fort (Castra
) was maintained where the town of Kesteren now is.
Around 1300 the first dikes were put up to protect the inhabitants and agricultural lands from flooding.
Most churches are reformed, there are no Catholic churches in the Neder-Betuwe area. The eastern municipal border also marks an invisible religious border, to the east a considerable part of the populoation is Catholic. This can be explained by the presence of a dike called the Spanjaardsdijk or Spaniards Dike which was built before or during the Eighty Years' War. The local ruler was Protestant, the rulers to the west were Catholic.
The highway A15 runs east to west through Neder-Betuwe. A provincial road crosses the Rhine near Kesteren
and another provincial road crosses the Waal near Echteld
. A railway
line through the area was built in 1882, connecting Geldermalsen
. A new dedicated freight
railway line called the Betuweroute
was opened on June 16th, 2007. This line connects the port of Rotterdam
operates a service across the Rhine between Opheusden
. During summer months a small ferry transports people between Dodewaard
, mainly tourists, across the river Waal as part of several recreational bicycle
The local economy runs mostly on agriculture (fruit plantations and tree nurseries) and some factories. The economy blossomed after the completion of the railway line through the area making it possible to transport fresh fruit. A considerable part of the local population works outside the municipal boundaries.
In Dodewaard a nuclear power plant
with a boiling water reactor
is in the process of being decommissioned. It was operational in the period 1968-1997. It had a capacity of 58 MW.
In 2003 the last fissionable material was removed. Parts of the plant were demolished, the main, radioactive part is being prepared for a 40-year waiting period of "safe enclosure" from 2005-2045, before being demolished. The main source of radioactivity
-60 with a half-life
of 5.27 years, hence it is reduced by a factor 193 in 40 years. Waiting longer is not as effective, since at that time the main source of radioactivity will become nickel
-63 with a half-life of 100.1 years.
The spent uranium and the uranium left when operation was discontinued were transported to BNFL in Sellafield for nuclear reprocessing.
See also nuclear reactors in the Netherlands.
In February 1995 Ochten
received international media attention because of a weakened dike. This situation forced 250,000 people in this region to evacuate. The riverlevels had been unusually high for almost two months, reaching record heights during the first days of February. Although the dike started to shift a huge rescue operation managed to stabilise the dike. Several months later the already planned strengthening of the dike started with almost no opposition. Some people who opposed the strengthening before the evacuation, mainly because of NIMBYism
, were harassed by some locals.
Dodewaard, Echteld, IJzendoorn, Kesteren, Ochten and Opheusden.