This study provides a description of the syllable in Dutch from a phonological and a phonetic point of view. The central hypothesis of this thesis is the Metrical Segment Duration Hypothesis by which it is assumed that the relative durations of segments are a reflection of (phonological) syllable constituency. The thesis reports on a series of experiments which focus on the durations of consonants and consonant clusters at the word-onset, the word-coda and in intervocalic position. Phonological assumptions concerning the hierarchical nature of word-onsets and word-codas, and assumptions concerning the location of syllable breaks, are confirmed to a considerable degree by the results of these experiments. However, the durationally motivated hierarchies differ from the phonological hierarchies. Also, language-specific phonological rules seem to be phonetically overruled by universal principles.