Vuurtoreneiland (literally: Lighthouse Island) is a little fort island off the coast of Durgerdam, near Amsterdam, and is still relatively unknown. It’s an exclusive monumental location in a unique part of Holland. On this fort island you are surrounded by water, tranquillity, light and air. With its wooden houses, the picturesque harbour town of Durgerdam is a special location. Only a stone’s throw from the Dutch capital, it offers unobstructed views over lake IJmeer. Every last Sunday of the month, a ferry leaves for Vuurtoreneiland from the harbour at Amsterdam IJburg and from Amsterdam Centre near the Muziekgebouw aan het IJ (a concert hall).
Upon arrival on the island visitors receive a guided tour by the forester, who tells about the history, culture and nature on and around the island. You also have the opportunity to walk around on your own and enjoy the quietness and the beautiful views of the Amsterdam skyline, lake Markermeer and the town of Durgerdam. Don’t forget to bring along a flashlight and binoculars, to help you find your way in the bunkers!
Ferry crossing to Fort Island IJmuiden
A visit to the Fort Island starts with an atmospheric trip across the water. Two ships ensure good accessibility of the island: they are the ‘Fortwachter’ and the ‘Koningin Emma’. Keeping guard 24 hours a day, the ‘Fortwachter’ (Fort Watchman) is the boat of the island itself. This 12.5-metre (41-feet) long aluminium landing craft was built in America. The ‘Koningin Emma’ (Queen Emma) is a seaworthy round-trip boat owned by shipping company Dankzij in IJmuiden. The ‘Koning Emma’ is normally moored at the ‘Kop van de Haven’ (Harbour Head) near the Sluisplein square in IJmuiden.
This boat is used to transport groups to the Fort Island from the Kop van de Haven, De Noordpier and the Seaport Marina. The ferry crossing to the island takes approximately 10 minutes.
Travelling to Fort Island Pampus by ferry, canoe or private boat
The Fort Island Pampus is situated approximately 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles) north of the entrance to the harbour of the fortified town of Muiden. Pampus can be reached over water by various means of transportation. Ferries to the island depart from Muiden and IJburg. You can also sail to the fort on a private boat, though. There are two mooring places on the south side of the island.
People who want to visit Pampus by canoe can land it on the small beach next to the breakwater during opening hours. If you only want to make a stop here to take a breather and don’t want to visit the island, you won’t need to purchase an entrance ticket.
Boat to Pampus + Muiderslot castle leaving from IJburg (Amsterdam)
A visit to Muiderslot castle is even more fun if you go there by boat. From the 1st of April, Rederij het IJ offers a boat service from IJburg in Amsterdam to Muiderslot. During high season, from the 1st of May through the 30th of September, the boat sails twice a day, Mondays excluded. In April and October there are two sailings on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, there’s only one service a day. The boat departs from the harbour of IJburg in Amsterdam and travels via Pampus to Muiderslot castle.
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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.