Vesting Bourtange fortress

Impregnable fortress in the marshes

This defence work was newly finished when the Spaniards showed up at the gate. But the combination of the bastions and soggy marshes ensured they quickly fell back. The Bishop of Münster was also unable to conquer Bourtange. Be sure to explore the impregnable Groningen fortress that has been restored to its former glory.

200,000 bullets

In the late 16th century, during the Eighty Years’ War, the Vesting Bourtange fortress was constructed as a defence work. The bastions provided a clear view of possible enemies lurking from any direction. Or, to put it more precisely: of how enemy troops disconsolately went down into the surrounding marshes. One century later, Bourtange became known because of Captain Prott. The enemy bishop Bernard van Galen, in Groningen known as Bommen Berend, attempted to bribe Prott with a ‘golden bombing’: an offer of 200,000.00 guilders or a manor house in Westfalen. Via verbal tradition, Prott’s answer was clear: ‘I’ll send you 200,000.00 bullets instead!’ Bourtange withstood the subsequent attack, leaving the enemy no choice but to fall back.

Inhabited history

Bourtange has been completely restored to its former days, including ramparts, moats and red lift bridges. Prott’s heroic actions are re-enacted every year during a battle. Bourtange is also a village with modern residents, which is no different from the past. The fortress accommodated soldiers with their families and civilians who helped out. Many of the buildings used in former days are still open to the public, such as a school, the church and mill. In short, a visit to the old fortress equals a journey back in time.

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