European Fortress Day

April 2020

The weekend of 25 & 26 April 2020 EFFORTS Europe and Stichting Liniebreed Ondernemen are organizing the European Fortress Day for the third time. We do this because we want to put the beautiful military heritage with fortresses and fortified cities on the international map.  In 2019 there were 15 participating European countries that have jointly opened more than 100 heritage sites. Which fort will you visit?

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The program below is from 2019. In March we will upload the program of 2020.

In the fortified city of Den Bosch, several military locations are open to the public on Saturday 14 and / or Sunday 15 September. Visit for example Saint Johns’ Bulwark; a defense structure built in front of the medieval city gate on the west side of the city center. Learn more about the military heritage in the underground Bastionder Information Center. September the 15th you can also visit two fortresses: Orthen Fortress and Isabel Fortress. In the Arsenal you can join in several guided tours or play the Pieckenpoort Game with Virtual Reality glasses.


More than 60 fortresses, fortified towns or bunkers

Fortress Festival 7-15 september 2019

From Saturday 7 to Sunday 15 September, the landscape of the Waterlinies in the Netherlands is the backdrop for the Fortress Festival. The public can enjoy theater, films, visual arts and music. An outdoor cinema will be set up at a number of locations in the Stelling van Amsterdam and Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie. On Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September, the activities in many forts are dominated by the Open Monument Weekend. Even forts that were not otherwise opened are then open to the public. Look at

Visit the archeology site of the Spanish Fort Sint Michiel (1641). Programme: Guided tours around the fort, new restaurant with food from the past, built a fort with natural materials for kids, movie about the site, exhibition on the fort and a lecture on plants on fortification sites.

The fortified town of Den Bosch has a huge programme on 14 and 15 September (read this on the right side). And fortified town Bergen op Zoom is visitable this weekend as well with a festival “Art of Monuments”: (pop) music, theater, art, cycle routes and guided tours.

The Netherlands has 10 waterlines: defense lines consisting of fortifications, forts and bunkers with an ingenious system of locks, dikes and canals. When the enemy approached, large plots of land could be put under water, not deep enough for ships and too deep for man and horse. Today, a large number of forts have been given a new destination. Saturday the 8th of September several forts and fortified cities are open to visit.

8 september: Visit ‘Schans Landmolen’ and the surrounding. This small fortress (schans) is part of de outer defense of Antwerp first World War. Visitors at Fort 2 can participate in guided tours to an exhibition about murals and graffiti in the Antwerp fortresses. The museums about the two world wars, the V-weapons and the gun gallery can also be visited freely. A drink can be enjoyed in the fort pub. Fort of Oelegem has special remains of authentic metal parts like pieces of plate/canon mountings, munition elevators and original cooker hoods. Unique to see here is graffiti from 110 years ago. Fort van Walem is open van 10.00 til 16.00 hour for guided tours. Fort Hoboken (Fort 8) is open from 10.00 till 17.00 hour with guided tours for adults and childeren.

29 september: Visit Fort Duffel. From 13.00 till 17.00 hour there are free guided tours. Registration in advance is required by mail:


Fortress Belt of Antwerp

Several dates in September
Visit the forts of Antwerp in September during European Fortress Day. Experienced guides take you through the hidden parts of the forts and ask them everything you want to know! The 6 open forts are: Fort Duffel, Fort Oelegem, Hoboken Fort 8, Fort 2 Wommelgem, Fort Walem and Schans Landmolen. Activities include guided tours, bat stories, folk games, exhibitions or an adventure trail. Read more on

Also open is Raversyde Atlantikwall Museum. Visit 8 September the opening of ‘ANNO 1465’, a medieval village and the WOI and WOII bunker sites, like ‘Battery Aachen’, with tours, guides, exhibitions.

Visit ‘City of Antwerp Kipdorp site‘ an archaeological site dating of the 16th century, part of the Spanish walls, or the 5 km city fortification of Antwerp. Visitors can have an overview of the site on the bridge, the city walls and the casemate. By taking the new tunnels, they can walk along the city walls and under the bridge. Children can take part in a search quiz.

After the emergence of Belgium, a new defense concept was sought for the country without natural defenses. They chose Antwerp as National Reduit, a place where the king and government could defend themselves until the allies came to the rescue. The old Spanish city wall was replaced by a large wall and 8 advanced brick forts in a circle around the city. These brick forts were supplemented at the end of the 19th century with concrete armor forts and ramps at a greater distance. Antwerp was protected by a double forts belt of a total of 35 forts and 12 ramps. During the First World War the forts were defended to the limit but had to give way under heavy bombing. After the Second World War, the forts were given a new function and became oases of nature and tranquility. The province of Antwerp has been actively committed to the forts for years.

Today Suomenlinna is a home for 800 residents and a working place for 300-500 people.

On European Fortress Day 5 September visitors will have a chance to interact with landscape maintenance and conservation architecture professionals on a tour around the fortress. During the day participants will also have a chance to visit venues at the fortress that are normally closed to public.


Suomenlinna fortress

Thursday 5 September

World Heritage Site Suomenlinna is a cultural treasure. In 1991, the Suomenlinna fortress was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List as a unique monument of military architecture. Another special feature of the fortress is that in the course of its history it has served in the defense of three realms: Sweden, Russia and Finland. Opened to public gradually after Finnish independence in 1920’s, administrated until 1973 by Finnish Army, Suomenlinna has been developed according to a master plan combining the conservation of the monument and its cultural landscape and the active reuse of the site as a vital part of the city of Helsinki. Today, the fortress and its museums, restaurants and events are a memorable experience for visitors of all ages. Moreover, it continues to be a living, tended and inhabited district of Finnish Capital Helsinki.

Situated on a group of islands off Helsinki, Suomenlinna was built during the Swedish era as a maritime fortress and a base for the Archipelago Fleet. Work on the fortress began in 1748. Swedish era of the fortress continued for 60 years until 1808, when Viapori was besieged by the Russian forces in the Russo-Swedish war. In 1808 Viapori along with its ships and equipment was transferred under the rule of the Russian Imperial Government. The following year, Finland became an autonomous Grand Duchy of Russia, but Viapori remained a military base under Russian administration. With the Russian Revolution and Finland’s independence in 1917, Viapori was taken over by the newly founded Finnish government in 1918 and renamed Suomenlinna (‘Castle of Finland’).

Besides the re-enactment, on the day the public will be allowed to visit Upper Fort St Angelo, which is administered by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (the Order of St John) as well as the Fort’s interpretation centre and dioramas. This year’s event will coincide with the closing of an ongoing temporary exhibition on site ‘Behind Closed Doors Fort St Angelo & the Royal Navy 1906-1979’ to commemorate the 40th anniversary from the departure of the last foreign military forces from Malta.


Fort St. Angelo

Sunday 8 September
Since 1887, Fort St Angelo was open to the general public (whilst still a military establishment), for civilians to visit and commemorate the victory of the Great Siege of 1565 every 8th of September. Following the restoration of this national icon in 2015, Heritage Malta has revived this tradition which attracts numerous visitors. On the day, several re-enactment groups portraying Medieval, Early Modern & World War 2 periods animate the venue. With the participation of other local groups and the National Festivities Committee, a parade takes place to commemorate the end of the Great Siege.

Fort St Angelo dates back to at least 1241 (then known as Castrum Maris). Over the years it has been constantly upgraded to reflect the military technology of different periods until it was transformed from a medieval castle to a gunpowder fortress in 1690 through the intervention of the military engineer Carlos Grunenbergh. Over the centuries it was pivotal in various battles and sieges including the Great Siege of 1565 when it was the place of last resort in the battle between the Ottomans and the Knights of St John. During the 19th century it was run by the British Army and solidified as the main guardian of the Grand Harbour, with constant change in its artillery. In 1906, obsolete in military relevance of the day, it was taken over by the British Royal Navy and used as a shore establishment. On 31 March 1979 it was the last place vacated by British Forces on Malta.

Friday 27th September: tangible meets the intangible heritage: visitors will enjoy in a remarkable cultural programme on St. Michael’s Fortress – an evening performance of Choral Society of Šibenik “Kolo“.
Saturday 28th September: visitors will be able to experience and understand the importance of cultural heritage through interactive educational workshops on Barone Fortress. Workshops are designed to aid the learning of history of Šibenik and its fortresses.
Sunday 29th September: celebration of St. Michael – the protector of City of Šibenik. Both St. Michael’s and Barone Fortress will be opened to general public. Visitors will be able to experience history by using augmented reality devices, while their reality is expanded by computer generated image and sound.



St. Michael’s Fortress & Barone Fortress

27 – 29 September
During the three-day program of the EFD 2019 in Šibenik, visitors will be able to experience high-quality cultural programs and enjoy in variety of contents that, both, St. Michael’s and Barone Fortress offer.

St. Michael’s Fortress is located on a strategically extremely favorable position, halfway between the antique centres Zadar and Split, in the protected mouth of the Krka river and near all of the important transportation roads in Dalmatia. Built on a 60-foot-high steep cliff, the middle fort of the fortress was the most important point of the defense system of the city. In its underground, Fortress preserves historic structures such as a baker’s oven and two old water tanks dating back to the 15th century. The fortress is completely renovated.

Barone Fortress was built in 1646 on an 80-meter-high hill above the city. Along with the other three fortresses in Šibenik, it represents a part of the unique defence system which resisted the enemies of the city for centuries. Today, it has an exceptional monumental value recognized across Europe. The Fortress is a unique cultural tourism attraction daily accessible to visitors.

The stately citadel of Blaye is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful Vauban locations. City walls, fortified gates, barracks, prison, roadblock, are all examples of the defense system that you can admire along the route. To find out more about the history and heritage of Blaye, you can visit the Museum of Art and History of Pays Blayais, with various collections, a tour of the citadel and the underground corridors; or you can opt for an explained tour with the tourist train.



Twelve groups of fortified buildings

September 2019

Visit a fort of the Vauban network in the September month. Most of them are daily accessible for visitors. The 12 sites selected to be part of the World Heritage are: Arras (citadel), Besançon (citade, city walls and Fort Griffon), Blaye-Cussac-Fort-Médoc (citadel of Blaye, city walls, Fort Paté and Fort Médoc), Briançon (city walls, Redoute des Salettes, Fort des Trois-Têtes, Fort du Randouillet, ouvrage de la communication Y and the Asfeld Bridge), Camaret-sur-Mer (Golden Tower), Longwy (ville neuve), Mont-Dauphin (place forte), Mont-Louis: citadel and city walls), Neuf-Brisach (ville neuve), Saint-Martin-de-Ré (city walls and citadel), Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue/Tatihou (watchtowers) and Villefranche-de-Conflent (city walls, Fort Libéria and Cova Bastera).

Fortifications of Vauban consists of 12 groups of fortified buildings and sites along the western, northern and eastern borders of France. They represent the finest examples of the work of Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban (1633-1707), a military engineer of King Louis XIV. The serial property includes towns built from scratch by Vauban, citadels, urban bastion walls and bastion towers. There are also mountain forts, sea forts, a mountain battery and two mountain communication structures. This property is inscribed as bearing witness to the peak of classic fortifications, typical of western military architecture. Vauban also played a major role in the history of fortification in Europe and on other continents until the mid-19th century.


Camden hosts many exhibitions to tell the story of its past , from history based rooms and artefact displays, to photo exhibitions of the forts. The onsite Café facilities, boasts one of the finest decking areas with panoramic views of Cork harbour including Cobh, Spike Island and Roches Point, overlooking the main shipping channel the perfect place to get a close up view of all of the luxury liners that pass through. The fortress is open all weekends in September, but 14 & 15 September there’s a special programme for European Fortress Day; a live reenactment (14th); live music from the Cork Light Orchestra (15th), and; the presence of an on-site historian (14th and 15th).

Spike Island intends deploying the mobile guns out onto the parade square for the EFFORTS weekend on September 7 & 8 and will have experienced veterans to man each of them. Normally the guns are on display in a specially developed exhibition area. The other coastal guns will also be manned for this special occasion.


Fortress Spike Island & Camden Fort Meagher

7 & 8 September
Today Spike Island is dominated by the 200 year old Fort Mitchel, the star shaped Fortress which became a prison holding over 2300 prisoners. Take the scenic ferry ride from Kennedy Pier, Cobh, and enjoy a fully guided tour of our island and fortress, and relax in our cafe and picnic areas. Get captured in the history and mystery of this magical heritage island. There’s an extensive artillery collection to be seen. The saluting battery for Cork Harbour is located within the fort, these guns are regularly fired. The fort is open daily.

14 & 15 September
Visit also Camden Fort Meagher across Spike Island; 65% of the fort is located underground in a labyrinth of tunnels and chambers. Please allow plenty of time to explore and enjoy the fort, given the size of the site and the various exhibitions available.

The last ever fully bastioned star-shaped fort was built on Spike Island in southern Ireland by the British Royal Engineers. It was built during the 19th century and covers twenty-four acres. The purpose of the fort was to protect and defend the vital Royal Naval facilities and the warships using the vast anchorage within Cork Harbour. Three other coastal defence forts were also constructed around the entrance to the harbour. One of them is Camden Fort Meagher. Together with similar structures at Fort Mitchell, Fort Davis, and Templebreedy Battery, the fort was built to defend the mouth of Cork Harbour.

Camden Fort Meagher is internationally recognised as being one of the finest remaining examples of a classical Coastal Artillery Fort in the world. For almost 400 years the Fort  played a key role as a strong strategic position for the defence of Ireland, the west coast of England, and Wales.

European fortress day celebration at Fort no. 3 event is the part of the Kaunas fortress festival “Battery’19”. On September 21 we are inviting you to join heritage day in fort no.3. To hear a story about development of Kaunas Fortress Park. Fort – theater, fort that educates, fort that is an open space for culture. Heritage that is full of culture. Enthusiasts and citizens of the city that found a way to the important sites of our history and difficult memories of people that lived through.

The programme includes: opening of exhibitions: „Poterns of memory“, new chamber hall in casemate, Lithuanian militarys uniform exposition and educational program, maquette and creative workshops for kids, free guided tours, taste the tea of the fort no. 3, „Soup from the ax stem“, and to perform in open space – platform for arts and creativity. The fort will be open from 10AM to 8PM.


Kaunas fortress park, fort no. 3

20 + 21 September
Kauns fortress park, fort no. 3, is one of the best-preserved and most used objects in Kaunas fortress. It was tidied up and transferred for the public use with the help of the local community. When bats are not wintering there, the fort is hosting various events and tours. It has a community centre and a permanent exhibition of Lithuanian army clothing.

On 7 July, 1879 Russian Emperor Alexander II approved the military leadership’s proposal to build a fortress in Kaunas. Even much of the current urban population have no clue about the scale of this engineering project: all of Kaunas was supposed to be turned into a fortress. It consisted of about 750 objects: batteries, warehouses, hospitals, churches, barracks, administrative buildings. Etc. 250 have survived until today. During World War I the III fort defended itself against the onslaught of the German forces amid the offensive on the Kaunas fortress.


Within the framework of expert tours, you will learn many interesting facts about life in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, about international cooperation 500 years ago and the Preußens penchant for distant countries, but also about what contemporary artists associate with and inspire the fortress. The first Sneak-peek guided tours will take a look at the new art exhibition at the ZAK even before it opens. There is also a lot for the youngsters to discover: The premiere of the students project “Das Denkmal als Filmkulisse” (The Monument as a Film) takes up the cinematic past of the Citadel; artistic workshops and a photo rally are devoted to the aesthetics of the wall. Many of the approximately 500 doors on the Citadel are open to you and we invite you and your families to discover the many facets of the historical island and the cultural site of the Citadel!


Zitadella Spandau

8 September
Discover the different aspects around the fortress “Zitadelle Spandau” – from nature protection and landscape conservation, bats and bees to architecture, art exhibitions and historical museums. Admission to the Citadel and all events on this day are free.

The Spandau Citadel was built in the 16th century and is one of Europe ’s best preserved renaissance fortresses. Today it is an important cultural centre, as it houses five historical museums as well as two art galleries and is home to the annual Citadel Music Festival during the summer. The exhibition “Unveiled. Berlin and its Monuments” invites the visitor for a walk through the changeful history of the monument landscape of Berlin The highlight is the head of the former Lenin monument, which was dismantled in 1992. Furthermore, the Citadel is one of Germany ’s biggest hibernation areas for bats.

Program will follow soon


Forte Maghera

All days in September
The fortified Camp of Mestre has long constituted a defense system inaccessible to the population. Now the Forts, built for the war, are brought back, thanks to the associations of citizens and the Municipality of Venice, to a peaceful use: what constituted an impassable barrier is turning into an essential good for improving the quality of life in the city, offering the possibility to elaborate individual paths through the long history that goes from the genesis of Forte Marghera and the Austrian defensive system to the proposals of reuse and re-functionalization that today occupy the pages of city news. The fort and parc are daily open except mondays.

Forte Maghera is a nineteenth-century fortress and the former Italian army barracks are located in Mestre, about five kilometers from Venice. The fort was part of the established camp of Mestre and the wider defensive system of the lagoon.

There’s lot to explore at Petrovaradin fortress, like Fortress walking routes. Explore outstanding, yet long-neglected 18th-century urban landscape of the Petrovaradin Fortress. Hear local heritage stories, learn about the latest archeological findings, witness the Lower Fortress facade reconstruction process, enjoy a magnificent view from the Upper Fortress, read about forgotten and lost heritage, walk through layers of history, sense the way of living inside the Fortified Town, smell the aroma of the Danube river in the early autumn breeze and create memories and take photos of this unique experience.

Sociologist mr Ilija Galonja will lead walking tour throu 18th century town inside of Petrovaradin fortess. He will explain every day life of citizens and military personel inside of fortress in first half of 19th century using records from firts written history of Petrovaradin by Franz Schams (published 1820. in Pest) and english traveler John Palgrave Simpsons from his Letters from Danube (published 1847. in Lonodn).


Fortress Petrovaradin

28 September
Petrovaradin fortress was a significant military fort of the Austrian rulers who, at the time of Napoleon’s conquests, hid their treasures here. Today it is city’s art center, home to Exit festival and place which mysterious underground keeps intriguing explorers from around the world.

Mighty bastion on the right bank of the Danube, the second largest fortress in Europe, has had numerous masters. After 180 years of Turkish governance it finally got its today’s appearance thanks to Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I of Austria’s Habsburg dynasty. Hence the style typical of the 18th century Austria. In 1703 he began the reconstruction of the fortress that lasted for 77 years. The most stunning part of Petrovaradin fortress is the Clock Tower at the Ludwig bastion. The clock is peculiar for its clock-hands: a little hand indicates minutes, while the big hand represents hours. This unusual clock was constructed such way so that people, most of all boatmen, could read the time from the great distance.