Romans on the Vliet Canal

Two thousand years ago, in Roman times, Forum Hadriani stood on the site of present-day Voorburg. Forum Hadriani was populated between the end of the first century AD and the end of the third century AD. A flourishing governance and trade centre, it was the only city of considerable size in the north-west of the Netherlands, and the most westerly city of the Roman Empire.


Forum Hadriani had its own bathhouse, a temple complex and a paved main street. It hosted markets, had a port providing access to the Fossa Corbulonis waterway and boasted impressive embankments, indicative of its significance. The Roman Emperor Hadrian visited the city in 120 AD during a tour of the northern territories of his empire. During his visit, he gave the city its name.


Forum Hadriani’s history has continued to fascinate us for more than two centuries. The early-nineteenth-century scientific excavations that led to the rediscovery of the city were the earliest of their kind in the Netherlands. New discoveries are still being made, and our concept of Forum Hadriani is being constantly updated.

Important Findings

Huygens' Swaensteyn showcases several significant discoveries, including an extremely rare and well-preserved Roman well, ingeniously constructed using cart wheels.

Nowadays, there is little visible evidence of Forum Hadriani and the Fossa Corbulonis waterway in the public space. The majority of the archaeological remains of Forum Hadriani are located under Park Arentsburg – a national listed heritage site in Voorburg.

With the support of the municipalities of Leidschendam-Voorburg and Voorschoten, Huygens' Swaensteyn is now taking the initiative to place Forum Hadriani and the story of the Romans firmly back in the spotlights. Within the Heritage Line (Erfgoedlijn) Limes project (Limes is the Latin term used to refer to the frontier of the Roman Empire), the Dutch Province of South Holland has made a subsidy available to develop a master plan for this. Putting the Romans on the Vliet Canal back on the map: now still a dream, soon to become reality.