Fort New St. Andries
Fort New St. Andries, locally known as Fort Sint Andries, lies east of the town of Rossum, in the Gelderland province in the Netherlands.
At this site the rivers Maas and Waal are very close together. Only a small stretch of land of some 2.5 km wide separates them. In the 16th century there were several natural openings between both rivers. As this was a strategic point during the 80-Years War (1568-1648) a Fort Voorne (also known as Fort Nassau) was built by Prince Maurice of Orange. In 1599 the Spanish reacted by building a Fort St. Andries (probably named after the vice governor-general of the Southern Netherlands Andreas of Austria). The Spanish also dug the Channel of St. Andries next to this fort. A year later the Dutch took over Fort St. Andries.
In later centuries Fort St. Andries was destroyed twice by the French. Of both Fort Voorne or Fort St. Andries almost nothing remains at present but some traces in the landscape.
In 1815-16 Fort New St. Andries was built after a design by major-engineer W. Valter to replace its predecessor on the other side of the old channel. It was laid out as a regular pentagon around a circular bomb-proof tower which housed 60 soldiers. Between 1856 and 1859 the tower was replaced by an oval bomb-proof building with 2 stories which housed 260 soldiers and arms and gunpowder magazines.
In the 1930's the old channel next to the fort was closed and a new channel was dug on the other side of the fort. In 1936 a concrete casemate was built in the fort to protect the bridge over the old channel. During WW II Fort New St. Andries was used by the German Luftwaffe. Later troops of the German 712th Infantry Division occupied it. In April 1945 they blew up the fort when they were attacked by the English Royal Marines and the Belgian 2nd Battalion of Fusiliers. After that the fort was never restored.
In the 1950's an air defence tower was built on the highest point of the fort. It was used until 1964. After that the fort was given over to nature.
Around 2006 both the fort and the air defence tower were restored.
At present the fort is freely accessible during daytime. You can visit the ruins of the oval tower, climb the air defence tower and the casemate all in a beautiful green setting. Also great views over the river Waal. Really worth your visit because it feels a bit forgotten and you could easily have the ruins all to yourself during a visit. And also because it has remains of several different time periods in its history.