Picturing the past

Everything is real…

Hoge Woerd is among the larger archaeological heritage sites in the country, harbouring a world of information about life in a garrison town along the boundary (limes) of the Roman Empire. Although it has been a national protected site for more than 50 years, soil cultivation and the undergrounding of utility lines were gradually eroding the site up until a few years ago. The new cultural park at Castellum Hoge Woerd now preserves the lion’s share of this heritage for future generations, while also making the buried garrison town visible for the first time. The park centres around the castellum itself, erected in precisely the same spot as the original Roman fort.

To the west, a zone of rolling grass hillocks indicate the former course of the Rhine River where it flowed just outside the fort. On the opposite side, the access roads to and from the castellumfollow the original plan, along which a sizeable camp village gradually developed, home to hundreds of craftsmen, traders, tavern keepers and army wives and children. To the east are the gardens of Steede Hoge Woerd, evoking the colourful patchwork of smallholdings, vegetable plots, sheds and dung-heaps that once defined this landscape. Outside the north gate is the bathing complex, the Roman version of a fitness centre-cum-social club where people came to trade the latest gossip and talk business.