Fort Rammekens

Fort Rammekens, originally called ''Zeeburg", lies between the village of Ritthem and the harbor of Vlissingen-Oost, in the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands.

Fort Rammekens was built in 1547 by the Italiian engineer Donato de Boni di Pellizuoli on the orders of Mary of Hungary, who was governor of the Habsburg Netherlands. Situated on the north bank of the Western Scheldt estuary at an anchorage, its purpose was to protect and control the waterways to Middelburg and Antwerp.

During the early years of the 80 Years' War Middelburg and the fort were garrisoned by Spanish troops. During their efforts to take Middelburg from the Spanish, the Sea Beggars conquered the fort in 1573. And in 1574 the Spanish commander of Middelburg; Cristóbal de Mondragón, signed his capitulation to William I, Prince of Orange, here in the fort. In 1585 the fort was given as collateral to Elizabeth I of England, in exchange for an army of 5000 soldiers to help the Dutch in their fight against Spain. In 1616 it was returned to the Netherlands.

In 1787 Fort Rammekens was turned into a hospital for sailors of the Dutch East India Company, while their ships were waiting at the anchorage for favorable winds.

The unsuccessful British Walcheren Campaign in 1809 led Napoleon Bonaparte to radically rebuilt the fort; the buildings on the courtyard were removed, strong casemates were built and its defenses were modernized. In 1814 the fort came back into the hands of the Netherlands. Fort Rammekens was abolished as a fortress in 1869 and although it remained in use as a powder magazine it slowly fell into decay.

During World War II the fort became part of the Atlantic Wall and was occupied by German troops. They built several bunkers and other concrete defenses in and around the fort. The dyke near the fort was bombed by Allied forces in 1944 to flood the island of Walcheren.

After the war the Fort was used as a mushroom farm for some years. Since 1972 it is owned and managed by Staatsbosbeheer; the Dutch governmental forestry and nature reserve organization.

Fort Rammekens claims to be the oldest seafort in western Europe. It has a quadrilateral plan and originally was situated on a bend in the dyke, with the waters of the Western Scheldt lapping at its eastern walls. Only in 1945 a new dyke was laid around the fort.

At present Fort Rammekens can be visited for a fee on weekends during the summer months. A very nice fort.


Gallery

Fort Rammekens

Fort Rammekens, originally called ''Zeeburg", lies between the village of Ritthem and the harbor of Vlissingen-Oost, in the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands.

Fort Rammekens was built in 1547 by the Italiian engineer Donato de Boni di Pellizuoli on the orders of Mary of Hungary, who was governor of the Habsburg Netherlands. Situated on the north bank of the Western Scheldt estuary at an anchorage, its purpose was to protect and control the waterways to Middelburg and Antwerp.

During the early years of the 80 Years' War Middelburg and the fort were garrisoned by Spanish troops. During their efforts to take Middelburg from the Spanish, the Sea Beggars conquered the fort in 1573. And in 1574 the Spanish commander of Middelburg; Cristóbal de Mondragón, signed his capitulation to William I, Prince of Orange, here in the fort. In 1585 the fort was given as collateral to Elizabeth I of England, in exchange for an army of 5000 soldiers to help the Dutch in their fight against Spain. In 1616 it was returned to the Netherlands.

In 1787 Fort Rammekens was turned into a hospital for sailors of the Dutch East India Company, while their ships were waiting at the anchorage for favorable winds.

The unsuccessful British Walcheren Campaign in 1809 led Napoleon Bonaparte to radically rebuilt the fort; the buildings on the courtyard were removed, strong casemates were built and its defenses were modernized. In 1814 the fort came back into the hands of the Netherlands. Fort Rammekens was abolished as a fortress in 1869 and although it remained in use as a powder magazine it slowly fell into decay.

During World War II the fort became part of the Atlantic Wall and was occupied by German troops. They built several bunkers and other concrete defenses in and around the fort. The dyke near the fort was bombed by Allied forces in 1944 to flood the island of Walcheren.

After the war the Fort was used as a mushroom farm for some years. Since 1972 it is owned and managed by Staatsbosbeheer; the Dutch governmental forestry and nature reserve organization.

Fort Rammekens claims to be the oldest seafort in western Europe. It has a quadrilateral plan and originally was situated on a bend in the dyke, with the waters of the Western Scheldt lapping at its eastern walls. Only in 1945 a new dyke was laid around the fort.

At present Fort Rammekens can be visited for a fee on weekends during the summer months. A very nice fort.


Gallery