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Forteiland IJmuiden

The Fort near IJmuiden dominates the access to the North Sea Canal. The three-storey fortress possessed a unique armoured battery with five heavy guns to defend the coast and a turret with two guns for the defence of the sluices and the North Sea Canal. The isolated fortress island has long been off limits and you still get a sense of a mysterious atmosphere there.

The Stichting Forteiland IJmuiden (Fort Island IJmuiden Foundation) manages a museum on the island and provides guided group tours (at a charge) on a monthly basis. The tour of the island is given in the morning for a minimum of 25 people.

From March through November on the first Sunday of the month, experienced guides from the 'Vrienden van het Forteiland' (Friends of the Fort Island) conduct tours of the island. It’s a fun and educational experience for young and old. Event organizer PBN Sport & Adventure organizes events for groups and businesses on the fort island. 

On days that the island is open to the public, the fortress and island can be visited as part of a 2-hour boat excursion offered by shipping company the IJmuidense Rondvaart Maatschappij. Departure is from the Sluisplein quay (harbour head). Trips at other times or with groups of more than 15 people are possible by appointment.

The Fort near IJmuiden was built between 1880 and 1887 and was originally located on the northern bank of the estuary of the North Sea Canal. As a result of the widening of the channel in the 1920s, the fortress came to lie on an island. In 1910 the position at IJmuiden was reinforced with two coastal batteries and two batteries on land. During the German occupation, the fort island became the ‘Kernwerk’ (the most important structure and a place of last retreat) of the ‘Festung IJmuiden’ (Fortress IJmuiden). The turret and the guns were removed by the Germans and melted, but the armoured gallery has remained.

The boat to the island can depart from various pick-up points. Please take note which pick-up point was agreed upon or is stated in the programme. 

Not very wheelchair accessible.  

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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.