Fort 2

Fort 2

Belgian Castles

Fort 2

Fort 2 lies in the town of Wommelgem, in the province of Antwerp in the Flemish region in Belgium.

After Belgium gained its independance in 1830, the fear of a European conflict or invasion remained, primarily from the Netherlands or France. Because Belgium had no noteworthy natural defense, it was opted not to defend the whole country, but to opt for a ‘National Redoubt’. For strategic, political and economic reasons the city of Antwerp was choosen to become that National Redoubt.

In 1859 the Belgian government decided to defend Antwerp by building a new rampart around the city, called the ‘Big Rampart’, after a plan of the military engineer Capt. Henri Alexis Brialmont. It consisted of 15 km long earthen rampart with 19 gates around the city.

It also had an advanced ring of 8, almost identical, brick forts. These forts, given the unimaginative names Fort 1 up until Fort 8, were built almost 2.5 km outside the city, at 2 km from each other. They had to protect the city from enemy fire. Every fort was about 30 hectares and consisted of a central reduit, caponiers, platforms and earthen walls for artillery, all surrounded by a wide moat.

Although building the rampart and forts was a massive and very expensive undertaking, it was finished in 1864. In 1907 the rampart and forts were modernized. The rampart was demolished in 1960. The forts are now more commonly known as the Brialmont Forts. All the forts, with the exception of Fort 1, are still in existence.

Between 1909 and 1911, parts of Fort 2 were reinforced with concrete and two gun turrets were build. The sandstone design of the bridgehead leading to the central reduit is unique in this ring of forts around Antwerp. After WW II the fort was decommissioned. Since then the different buildings all had a range of uses; such as an indoor swimming pool (now turned snackbar), a banquet hall, accomodation for local clubs and a WW I and II museum.

At present the fort is now part of a municipal park, although part of the outer fort is not accessible. The museum can only be visited on appointment or during guided walks. A nice fort.

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