Fort aan den Hoek van Holland - Hoek van Holland - The Netherlands

Address: Stationsweg 82, Hoek van Holland (See map)
Telephone: +31 (0)174-382898

Shop: small shop present
Restaurant/refreshments: restaurant available
Size of the museum/site: large
Year of visit: 2002

Overall rating:

Description: Between 1866 and 1868 the "Nieuwe Waterweg" was dug out to make a better connection to sea for the harbours of Rotterdam. To protect these harbours in times of war the building of the fort started in 1881. During the First World War the fort was fully manned and ready to fight (but luckily didn't have to be used). In the following (inter-war) period the fort was incorporated in the "Vesting Holland" (Fortress Holland, the western part of The Netherlands). When the Germans attacked The Netherlands in May 1940 the gigantic guns of the "Fort aan den Hoek van Holland" were used to fire at the German forces in the surrounding area. After the Second World War the fortress deteriorated, but since 1989 it is in use as a museum.

Walking through this museum you get a good picture of the history of the fortress and the life of the men that were stationed here. But attention is also given to the situation of the entire defensive line under Dutch as well as German rule. This all is well illustrated with the help of many dioramas, a German one person submarine called the "Biber" and of course the fortress itself is definitely worth visiting. Unfortunately it is open only one weekend a month (see the museum's website for details).

Overview of the fortress. It looks small but inside there is an extensive infrastructure of halls and compartments.

The forts huge gun turrets. The guns had a range of 7500 metres.

The ditch formed the final defenseline of the fortress, keeping enemy infantry from destroying the turrets from closeby.

Infantry positions protecting the structure from attacks over land. There were 34 positions for riflemen and 6 machingunpositions.

One of the Dutch soldiers manning the fortress.

Officer of the coastal artillery.

Gun installed by the Dutch army just before the war started in The Netherlands.

Rear of the 28 cm gun with loading facility. The gun was installed by the Germans in 1944 and formed part of the Atlantik Wall: the static coastal defense line 'protecting' Europe against allied invasions.

German "Tobrukstand": a one-man bunker at the coast of Hoek van Holland, for use in the event of an Allied landing attempt.

Diorama of Canadian soldiers of the Regina Rifles at Normandy, brought to land by a Dutch vessel.