The fortress of Bourtange had only just been completed when the troops loyal to Spain were already knocking on the gates of this fortress. However, the combination of bastions and boggy marshes kept them at bay. Even the bishop of Münster failed in his attempts to conquer Bourtange. Be sure to add a visit to this impregnable Groningen fortress to your to-do-list.
The Vesting Bourtange fortress was built in the late sixteenth century as a defence work in the Eighty Years’ War. The bastions provided a clear view of enemies coming from any direction. Or rather: a good look at how they hopelessly sank in the surrounding mashes. One century later, Captain Prott put Bourtange on the map when the hostile bishop Bernard van Galen – known as Bommen Berend (Bullet Berend) in Groningen – made an attempt to corrupt Prott with a ‘golden bombardment’; he tried to bribe Prott with a choice between an amount of 200,000 guilders or a country estate in Westfalen. Tradition has it that Prott replied as follows: ‘I’ll give you 200,000 bullets instead!’ Bourtange withstood the subsequent attack, forcing the enemy to fall back into the mud.
Bourtange was rebuilt to its former look and style, including the ramparts, canals and red drawbridges. Prott’s heroic actions of those days are commemorated each year during a re-enacted pitched battle. At the same time, Bourtange has grown into a village inhabited by modern villagers, just like in the past: in addition to the soldiers and their families, citizens also lived in the fortress and took on various auxiliary job. Many of the old buildings are open to the public, such as the school, the church and the mill. This is an unforgettable journey back in time
A visit to Bourtange is a guaranteed day of sheer fun. Explore the village on foot, visit the shops and the old-fashioned candle-making factory, and top your excursion off with a drink or bite to eat at one of the friendly bars or restaurants. Interesting events are held on a regular basis, from lively markets to realistic re-enactments of pitched battles. Immerse yourself in the history of the fortress and make an impressive journey through time in one of the various museums. Conclude the day with an overnight stay in the fortress in a box bed and experience what things used to be like at night. If you spend a weekend here, don't be alarmed if there is a sudden loud bang, because the old cannon is still fired every Sunday afternoon.