Fort Sabina, officialy known as Fort Sabina Henrica, lies south west of the fortified town of Willemstad, in the province of North Brabant in the Netherlands.
In 1809 Napoleon feared a possible British invasion and thus the French wanted to prevent the Hellegat water from being used by enemy ships to reach Willemstad. Therefore they built two forts, one on either side of the Hellegat water; Fort Prins Frederik in 1809 and Fort Sabina between 1810 and 1811. Their name for Fort Sabina was Fort de Ruijter.
Fort de Ruijter consisted of a pentagonal earthen fort, encompassed by a moat, with in its center a rectangular Model Tower, 1811 type, model 2, which could house 30 men. It is one of only three of these Model Towers built in the Netherlands. The other two, built around the same time, being at nearby Fort Hell and Fort Prins Frederik. These Model Towers, also known as Empire or Napoleon Towers, are the French equivalent of the British Martello Towers.
During the Franco-Prussian War in 1870-71, the fort was mobilized as a precaution. In 1874 it was incorporated into the 'Position at the Hollands Diep and Volkerak' together with Fort Hell, Fort Prins Frederik and Fort Buitensluis.
Between 1880 and 1883 Fort de Ruijter was rebuilt, it was enlarged and modernized. The French Model Tower was incorporated into a new building and partly earthened up. After the rebuilding the fort was bomb proof and between this fort and Fort Prins Frederik a barrier could be created using shock torpedoes. In the following decades the fort and its arms were constantly modernized. In 1902 it could house 514 men.
In 1913 Fort de Ruijter lost its name to a new fort which was being built near Vlissingen. It was renamed Fort Sabina Henrica after the polder in which it was situated.
Although Fort Sabina was a modern fort it was dismantled in 1924 but remained in military possession. During WW II it was used as a shelter for the local population. In 1944 the area became situated in the frontline. Fort Sabina was occupied by Canadian soldiers but Fort Prins Frederik, on the other side of the Hellegat water, was still occupied by the Germans.
In the 1950's and 1960's it was still being used as an ammunition depot by the military. In 1977 it was sold to the local Council.
Since 2012 Fort Sabina is taken care of by a foundation and at present it can be visited for free. It is also used for cultural and group activities and there is a small inn. This is a nice fort, especially because of the combination of the French Model Tower and the late-19th century fort. Recommended.