Fort Pannerden

Fort Pannerden lies south east of the village of Doornenburg, in the province of Gelderland in the Netherlands.

Fort Pannerden was built between 1869 and 1872 on a small strip of land between the river Waal, the main distributary of the Rhine, and the 18th century Pannerden Canal. Its main purpose was to stop any enemy wanting to advance via the Waal river to the New Dutch Waterline. It also had to prevent the Pannerden Canal from being dammed as the canal was a main source of water for the inundations that formed an integral part of the New Dutch Waterline.

Originally built completely out of brick and mortar, with just one main battery guarding the Waal, it was upgraded significantly during 1885-1895. The main battery was completely rebuilt, with armour and concrete, while two additional armoured batteries were added and the roof of the fort was reinforced with concrete.

During World War I the fort was mobilized but saw no active service as The Netherlands remained neutral. Its only achievement was that, at the end of the war, the fort's garrison discovered a German zeppelin in the air with their searchlights. It was shot down and found to be carrying espionage cameras. After the war the fort was demobilized and fell into disuse.

On the eve of World War II Fort Pannerden was mobilized again and manned by an infantry company. Several concrete bunkers were built around the fort and its guns were replaced. In 1940 the German troops, however, just bypassed the fort out of firing range of the fixed guns. The fort came to be in a totally isolated postion as the Germans later that day broke through several defense lines more inland. The next day the Germans returned and demanded the capitulation of the fort under the threat of an air raid. The fort's commander quickly surrendered.

After the war the fort became a quarry for building materials and a dump for ammunition. In 1952 an air defense platform was built on top of the fort. It was used until 1964. The fort itself was already decommissioned in 1959 and abandoned.

Fort Pannerden then stood empty until 2000 when it was taken over by squatters. After a couple of years the authorities ordered the squatters to leave but they refused, even after they lost a court case. In 2006 a large police and army force then started an eviction of the squatters from the barricaded fort. It took them 2 days to remove 25 squatters. Almost 3 weeks later, however, around 90 squatters returned, took back the fort and barricaded it again to prevent a 2nd eviction. A month later there followed an agreement; the squatters were appointed as temporary caretakers of the fort but could not live there anymore. In 2008 the former squatters left the fort voluntarily and a restoration of the fort began which ended in 2011 with the fort being opened to the public.

At present Fort Pannerden can be visited for a fee. A very nice fort, recommended! And there is a real nice medieval castle nearby too; Doornenburg Castle.


Gallery

Fort Pannerden

Fort Pannerden lies south east of the village of Doornenburg, in the province of Gelderland in the Netherlands.

Fort Pannerden was built between 1869 and 1872 on a small strip of land between the river Waal, the main distributary of the Rhine, and the 18th century Pannerden Canal. Its main purpose was to stop any enemy wanting to advance via the Waal river to the New Dutch Waterline. It also had to prevent the Pannerden Canal from being dammed as the canal was a main source of water for the inundations that formed an integral part of the New Dutch Waterline.

Originally built completely out of brick and mortar, with just one main battery guarding the Waal, it was upgraded significantly during 1885-1895. The main battery was completely rebuilt, with armour and concrete, while two additional armoured batteries were added and the roof of the fort was reinforced with concrete.

During World War I the fort was mobilized but saw no active service as The Netherlands remained neutral. Its only achievement was that, at the end of the war, the fort's garrison discovered a German zeppelin in the air with their searchlights. It was shot down and found to be carrying espionage cameras. After the war the fort was demobilized and fell into disuse.

On the eve of World War II Fort Pannerden was mobilized again and manned by an infantry company. Several concrete bunkers were built around the fort and its guns were replaced. In 1940 the German troops, however, just bypassed the fort out of firing range of the fixed guns. The fort came to be in a totally isolated postion as the Germans later that day broke through several defense lines more inland. The next day the Germans returned and demanded the capitulation of the fort under the threat of an air raid. The fort's commander quickly surrendered.

After the war the fort became a quarry for building materials and a dump for ammunition. In 1952 an air defense platform was built on top of the fort. It was used until 1964. The fort itself was already decommissioned in 1959 and abandoned.

Fort Pannerden then stood empty until 2000 when it was taken over by squatters. After a couple of years the authorities ordered the squatters to leave but they refused, even after they lost a court case. In 2006 a large police and army force then started an eviction of the squatters from the barricaded fort. It took them 2 days to remove 25 squatters. Almost 3 weeks later, however, around 90 squatters returned, took back the fort and barricaded it again to prevent a 2nd eviction. A month later there followed an agreement; the squatters were appointed as temporary caretakers of the fort but could not live there anymore. In 2008 the former squatters left the fort voluntarily and a restoration of the fort began which ended in 2011 with the fort being opened to the public.

At present Fort Pannerden can be visited for a fee. A very nice fort, recommended! And there is a real nice medieval castle nearby too; Doornenburg Castle.


Gallery