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Defence Line of Amsterdam

I’m not sure which parts of the Defence Line to visit. What categories can I search for?
To help you decide which parts of the Defence Line to visit, we offer you tips. They are categorized according to the following themes: recreation in nature, visiting cultural highlights, relaxation and enjoyment, an outing with the kids, learning about history.
I would like to visit the Defence Line of Amsterdam with my children. Which forts are child-friendly?
The paragraphs Fun activities with the kids and Forts with the kids tell you more about taking your children to the Defence Line of Amsterdam.
Which fort is the most beautiful of all?
No two people have the exact same tastes. We can’t tell you which Defence Line fort will appeal to you the most. It may help you to read here in the guestbook about the experiences of other visitors to the forts.
Which forts offer café or restaurant facilities?
A number of fortresses house a café and/or restaurant. You can read all about it in Eating and drinking.
Does the Defence Line of Amsterdam host any special events?
Apart from the regular visiting options there are annual events that offer people of all ages additional opportunities to visit the forts and enjoy theatre, lectures, music and other activities. These include exhibitions, art markets and historical re-enactments, for example. The following events take place each year: ‘Seizoensopening’ (Season Opening), ‘Festival Op de Bres’ and ‘Stellingmaand’ (Defence Line Month).
I have limited funds; are there any special offers or promotions?
Most of the forts that are open to the public can be visited for less than €5 a person. In some cases, entry for children is free.
What types of animals and plants can I find in the surroundings of the Defence Line of Amsterdam?
The Defense Line of Amsterdam is surrounded by natural beauty and is rich in flora and fauna. The paragraph National landscape is dedicated to the plants and animals that can be found in the area.
What is the best time to visit the Defence Line of Amsterdam?
A number of strongholds is open to the public at regular times from April through October. In the winter months, most forts are closed. More information can be found in paragraph The best time to visit.
Why isn’t every part of the Defence Line open to the public?
Not all elements of the ‘Stelling’ can be visited, because some of them have been given a new purpose. They serve as an office building or are privately owned, for instance. Other buildings cannot be visited because they are unsafe or too fragile. The descriptions of the individual forts in paragraph Defence line on the map tell you which ones are open to the public.

More information

Where can I find more information about the Defence Line of Amsterdam?
Information in English can be found at Stelling Amsterdam and wikipedia. Werelderfgoed offers information in English and French.
Are there any other defence lines in the Netherlands?
Yes, you can find several defence lines in the Netherlands, including the Old and New Dutch Waterline, Grebbe Line, West Brabant Water Line and Meuse Position. Also see wikipedia.
Where can I find more information about UNESCO World Heritage?
The paragraph UNESCO World Heritage provides information about UNESCO World Heritage. Alternatively, have a look here.

Overnight stays

Is it possible to spend the night at a fort?
Fort Resort Beemster is a spa and wellness centre that also includes a hotel and restaurant. You can spend the night at this fortress in a special setting. See the paragraph Welness at the Fort along Nekkerweg.
I would like to spend the night in the surroundings of the Defence Line of Amsterdam. Where can I find good accommodation?
You can book hotel rooms, amongst others, via Booking and B&Bs via Bed and Breakfast.

Recreation in North Holland

Where can I find more information about what there is to do in the region?
The website offers you information about things to do in the Province of North Holland. For historical information about the area, you can consult the website of the Noord-Hollands Archief. Tourist information is offered by the various Tourist Offices


Where can I rent a bike?
On the websites Fietsliefhebber and Er tussen uit you’ll find an overview of places in North Holland that rent out bicycles.
Where can I rent a boat?
Information about canoe rentals in the Province of North Holland can be found at the website of Kanoverhuur Nederland and Kanoweb.


Is it possible to reach the Defence Line forts by public transport?
For general information about travelling by public transport in the Netherlands, visit 9292. Go to the website of the NS for train schedules and to Connexxion (only in Dutch) if you want to travel by bus.
I use my own means of transportation. How can I plan my trip to a Defence Line fort?
You can plan your trip using Routenet or the Dutch-language websites of the ANWB and TomTom.

Travel guides

Where can I find travel guides in English or other languages?
The website offers a selection of professional travel guides.
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Passable part of an inundation in the form of elevated terrain, a road, (railway) embankment or waterway.

Collective term for projectile weapons.

Also called bulwark. An outward-projecting pentagonal structure, suitable for delivering flanking fire.

A storage site for military equipment. The parks in the Defence Line are spread out over sectors (sector parks) and groups (group parks).

A battery that is positioned behind armour plates.

A fort with one or more armoured artillery positions.

A number of artillery pieces combined into one group.

Shielded position from which defenders can harass the enemy.

A (low) defensive structure that extends into the moat and can be used to give flanking fire.

A space that is protected against enemy fire and is outfitted with a gun port, behind which a piece of artillery is placed.

An army division whose tasks include, amongst other things, the construction of temporary and permanent defensive structures. The term ‘engineer’ is derived from the French word ‘ingenieur’.

Also called covert way. A pathway that is protected from enemy fire by an earthen wall and can be used for transporting soldiers and military equipment.

Also called stop-log sluice. A temporary dam that stops the inundation water when beams are stacked up in its recesses.

Water purification system that improves the quality of drinking water by extracting iron.

Earthen elevation surrounding a defensive structure, featuring a breastwork.

A (wooden) shed where artillery and military engineering equipment were stored.

The part of a terrain that can be fired at.

Long-range flanking fire: fire support for the secondary forts. Short-range flanking fire: fire that covers the surroundings of the defensive structure itself.

Known in Dutch as ‘Vestingwet’. The act of the 18th of April 1874 that stipulated which forts would become part of the Dutch national defence system.

The side of a defensive structure that is facing away from the enemy.

In the Defence Line forts this is a casemate giving short-range and long-range flanking fire.

Undercarriage for a cannon or other heavy firearm.

Shell that is filled with highly explosive material.

The flooding of land to keep the enemy at bay.

Also called inlet sluice. A sluice that is constructed with the aim of letting water into a certain area.

An independent system of connected defensive structures.

Artillery that gives frontal fire over large distances, directly aimed at enemy positions.

A simple (temporary) defensive structure manned by a small number of soldiers.

An underground connecting passageway that is shellproof.

Known in Dutch as ‘Kringenwet’. Act of January 1853 that stipulates restrictions with regard to the construction of buildings in the vicinity of defensive structures, the so-called forbidden zones (‘kringen’), in order to guarantee a free field of fire.

A chart that is installed next to the gun port to give the operators of the artillery insight into the distances of targets and the corresponding firing angles.

A place of last refuge for the defenders of a fort, which can be defended independently.

A turret that is lifted up to give fire and is retracted and thus made almost invisible once the firing has stopped.

Position that provides shelter to retreating troops.

Battery that is situated in close proximity to a fort and performs some of the tasks that have been assigned to that fort.

The ability of a building to withstand gunfire thanks to brickwork, concrete or a bottom layer.

A shellproof depot for storing artillery and other essential military equipment.

A fort’s courtyard.


A turnable armoured artillery position.