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Alphen aan den Rijn

Alphen aan den Rijn is a town and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland, between Leiden and Utrecht. The town is situated on the banks of the river Oude Rijn, where the river Gouwe branches off. The municipality had a population of in, and covers an area of of which is water.The municipality of Alphen aan den Rijn also includes the communities of Aarlanderveen, Zwammerdam and Boskoop. The town is located in what is called the 'Green Heart' of the Netherlands, which is a somewhat less densely populated centre area of the Randstad.The name "Alphen" is probably derived from the name of the Roman fort Albaniana, meaning "settlement at the white water". Its remains still lie underneath the city centre today.HistoryThe area around Alphen aan den Rijn has been inhabited for 2000 years. In the Roman era, the Oude Rijn was the main branch of the Rhine River and formed the north border of the Roman Empire. Since the rule of Emperor Claudius (41–54 AD), divisions of the Roman army were stationed here. Consequently, several Roman fortifications were located along the Oude Rijn, including castellum Albanianae in the centre of Alphen. The Romans had also built the first bridge over the Oude Rijn. Alphen was therefore an important commercial site in the area until Germanic raids ended that in 240 AD.
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