Dort, Or Dordrecht,(Lat. Dordracum), an ancient town of the Netherlands, in the province of South Holland, situated on an island in the Merwede, a river formed by the junction of the Maas and the Waal, 11 m. S. E. of Rotterdam; pop. in 1870, 25,359. The advantages of its position, near the sea, accessible from the Rhine through the Waal, and having easy communication with an extensive inland district, have rendered it one of the first commercial towns of Holland. From Liege it receives coal, lime, and millstones. The vineyards on the Rhine supply it with wine, and from Switzerland and upper Germany it obtains timber, which drifts down the river in large rafts like floating islands, and is here collected. The surrounding waters afford plenty of good fish and wild fowl. A flourishing trade is carried on in oil, seeds, grain, flax, and stock fish. There are oil mills, saw mills, salt and sugar refineries, bleaching grounds, and factories of white lead, tobacco, steel pens, and window glass. The port is excellent. There are canals leading to the interior of the town, and a number of quays. The houses have an exceedingly antiquated appearance; the windows are grotesquely ornamented, and the gable ends generally face the street.
Three old houses formerly used as rendezvous for armed burghers are still standing. In one of these, now used as a play house, was held the famous Protestant synod of Dort in 1618 - '19, which condemned the doctrines of Arminius; and the provincial synods of South Holland were held in the same place until 1731, after which they convened in the great church. Another has been converted into a court house, and a public school is taught in the third. The chief church is St. Mary's, an immense building of great antiquity, now used by the Protestants, but originally by the Roman Catholics, and then containing 20 chapels and 40 altars. The pulpit is a fine piece of workmanship, of white marble elaborately sculptured. The town hall is very old, but in good preservation. Dort also has a corn exchange, a bank, an artillery arsenal, classical, agricultural, and other schools, an orphan asylum, almshouses, an infirmary, and a lunatic asylum. In 1421 it was involved in a terrible inundation, which is said to have swallowed up 70 villages, and to which the island of Dort owes its formation, the city having previously stood on the mainland. A conflagration in 1457 consumed upward of 2,000 houses, including many public edifices.
The first meeting of the states general, at which the independence of the United Provinces was declared, was held here in 1572. While the disputes about the stadtholdership were raging in 1672, the inhabitants of this town sided with the house of Orange; in 1786-'7, when similar difficulties arose, and Prussia intervened, Dort took a decided stand against that kingdom, and succeeded in obtaining advantageous terms.