Holland - Groningen
Fort Bourtange - Photo 61
Everywhere in Bourtange you will see that the wood of the fortress elements is painted in a special colour: it is called oxen red.
Crossing the same bridge for the second time in order to leave Bourtange. But ... not for always. It is certainly worth while another visit.
History of Bourtange:
Eighty Years’ War 1568-1648 (between Spain and the Netherlands) marks the beginning. In 1580 prince William of Orange ordered the building of a redoubt with five bastions on a sandy ridge (= tange in Dutch) in the swamps near the Dutch- German border. The road that connected the city of Groningen with Germany used to run over this sandy ridge. The Spanish, the adversaries of the Dutch during the 80-year war, used the road to bring supplies to the city of Groningen, which was in Spanish hands. Prince William hoped to isolate the city by building the redoubt. It would take many years for the city to surrender. All the while the redoubt was reinforced and it was completed in 1593 under the command of count Willem Lodewijk van Nassau. After Groningen surrendered, on 23 July 1594, the Bourtange fortress became part of the northern Netherlands’ defence structure.
Throughout the centuries the structure was further reinforced until the onset of ‘modern warfare’. A little over a century after Bourtange lost its military status, the town council of Vlagtwedde, in an attempt to revive the community, decided to reconstruct the fortress as it used to be in the year 1742, when the fortress was at its largest.
Today, Bourtange is a fortified town in which time seems to have stood still. The fortifications, the museums, the historic events, the market square and the original cannons are just a few of Bourtange's interesting sites.