Fort Ertbrand

Fort Ertbrand lies south east of the village of Putte, in the province of Antwerp in the Flemish region in Belgium.

Between 1859 and 1864 the young Belgian Kingdom had equipped the city of Antwerp, which had been chosen to be a National Redoubt in case of war, with a ring of 8 brick forts; Fort 1 until Fort 8. As the forts quickly became outdated, several new forts were added to the ring, between 1870 and 1895, but at a greater distance from the city; amongst them were Fort Steendorp and Fort Walem.

Advances in the development of artillery kept outdating the 19th century forts however. So, at the beginning of the 20th century, the Belgian government decided to surround Antwerp with yet a second ring of forts at an even greater distance from the city. Building commenced and in 1913, 11 armored forts and 12 armored redoubts, built out of concrete, had been built around the city. They then started arming these new forts, a job which was not yet finished when Belgium was invaded by the Germans in 1914.

Fort Ertbrand was built between 1908 and 1912. It is trapezium-shaped and surrounded by a moat. When the Germans invaded Belgium in 1914 the fort was manned by around 500 soldiers. The German Army besieged Antwerp from the south and took several forts there after which the city capitulated. As Fort Ertbrand was situated at the north of Antwerp it didn't see any action. Between the 2 World Wars the fort was modernized and adapted to gas attacks. But again it didn't see any action in World War II as it was evacuated shortly after the Germans had invaded.

After WW II the fort was used by the Bomb Disposal Unit of the Belgian army to destroy explosives, mines and ammunition. At some point it was sold to a private individual. It remained in private property until the end of 2016. It is now in the care of Natuurpunt; a nature conservation association.

At present Ertbrand Fort is part of a nature reserve. The reserve is freely accessible and you can walk around the fort island. The fort itself can only be visited on appointment with a guide in spring and summer as it also serves as a bat habitat. I hope to be able to do that in the near future.


Gallery

Fort Ertbrand

Fort Ertbrand lies south east of the village of Putte, in the province of Antwerp in the Flemish region in Belgium.

Between 1859 and 1864 the young Belgian Kingdom had equipped the city of Antwerp, which had been chosen to be a National Redoubt in case of war, with a ring of 8 brick forts; Fort 1 until Fort 8. As the forts quickly became outdated, several new forts were added to the ring, between 1870 and 1895, but at a greater distance from the city; amongst them were Fort Steendorp and Fort Walem.

Advances in the development of artillery kept outdating the 19th century forts however. So, at the beginning of the 20th century, the Belgian government decided to surround Antwerp with yet a second ring of forts at an even greater distance from the city. Building commenced and in 1913, 11 armored forts and 12 armored redoubts, built out of concrete, had been built around the city. They then started arming these new forts, a job which was not yet finished when Belgium was invaded by the Germans in 1914.

Fort Ertbrand was built between 1908 and 1912. It is trapezium-shaped and surrounded by a moat. When the Germans invaded Belgium in 1914 the fort was manned by around 500 soldiers. The German Army besieged Antwerp from the south and took several forts there after which the city capitulated. As Fort Ertbrand was situated at the north of Antwerp it didn't see any action. Between the 2 World Wars the fort was modernized and adapted to gas attacks. But again it didn't see any action in World War II as it was evacuated shortly after the Germans had invaded.

After WW II the fort was used by the Bomb Disposal Unit of the Belgian army to destroy explosives, mines and ammunition. At some point it was sold to a private individual. It remained in private property until the end of 2016. It is now in the care of Natuurpunt; a nature conservation association.

At present Ertbrand Fort is part of a nature reserve. The reserve is freely accessible and you can walk around the fort island. The fort itself can only be visited on appointment with a guide in spring and summer as it also serves as a bat habitat. I hope to be able to do that in the near future.


Gallery