It is watered by the three large rivers, the Rhine, the Waal and the Maas, and has a level clay soil, varied only by isolated hills and a sandy, wooded stretch between Nijmwegen and the southern border.
To the north of the Meuse, and more especially in the low-lying ground enclosed between the Waal and the Rhine (insula Batavorum) lived the Batavi, a clan of the great Germanic tribe, the Chatti.
The cultivation of pepper, cochineal, cinnamon and indigo for the government had already ceased; De Waal restricted the area of the sugar plantations (carried on by forced native labour) as from 1878, and provided for their abolition after 1890.
Though the name Rhine thus at last attaches to a very insignificant stream, the entire district between the Waal on one side and the Yssel on the other, the Insula Batavorum of Caesar, in reality belongs to the delta of the famous river.
The main stream joining the Waal at Gorinchem flows on to Dordrecht as the Merwede, and is continued thence to the sea by the Old Maas, the North, and the New Maas, the New Maas being formed by the junction of the Lek and the North.
Ursula is warned by a dream to demand a respite of three years, during which time her companions are to be 1 i,000 virgins collected from both kingdoms. After vigorous exercise in all kinds of manly sports, to the admiration of the populace, they are carried off by a sudden breeze in eleven triremes to Thiel on the Waal in Gelderland.
In the Waal ordinary high water is perceptible as far up as Zalt Bommel in Gelderland, in the Lek the maximum limits or ordinary and spring tides are at Vianen and Kuilenburg respectively, in the Ysel above the Katerveer at the junction of the Willemsvaart and past Wyhe midway between Zwolle and Deventer; and in the Maas near Heusden and at Well in Limburg.