Bourtange Things to Do

  • Papenburg Rathaus
    Papenburg Rathaus
    by Xefian
  • Bourtange: Museum De Barakken - Pipeheads
    Bourtange: Museum De Barakken -...
    by pieter_jan_v
  • Bourtange: Museum De Barakken - Bottles
    Bourtange: Museum De Barakken - Bottles
    by pieter_jan_v

Best Rated Things to Do in Bourtange

  • Stand Guard on the Eastern Wall

    by Xefian Written Jul 1, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you're looking for a little tranquility after the hectic pace of the Randstad ,Bourtange will do nicely.For a history buff , or those who enjoy movies set in this period ,I haven't been anywhere better ... they keep paths mowed atop the walls ,and one can walk circuits of the moats , cross over and walk larger laps ,with plenty of photo-ops for those so inclined...they seem to be expanding the walls ,and we came across some old pottery shards where there was some disturbed earth ...the moats extend outward in star shaped rings ,and it may be a good idea to carry the provided map of where the bridges are or it can be a long walk around ...there are plenty of water birds and colorful flowers to make this enjoyable ...Canoes can be rented to paddle around in the moats , we didn't do this but it looked like fun...

    from one of the Guard posts
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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  • Papenburg,Deutschland

    by Xefian Written Jul 1, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Around 10:00 am the tourists start to arrive ,it may be a busload of School children , or visitors from Nearby Germany ...it was at this point we decided to travel the
    20 Kms or so to Papenburg ...This city is home to a massive shipbuilding industry ,turning out everything from giant cruise ships to luxury yachts...the Centrum has a decidely Dutch feel to it with a canal bisecting the main shopping street , and classic sailing boats moored . Theres a windmill in town as well ....Papenburg is mostly modern looking , but the centrum was a pleasent stroll and I was able to find a good German Currywurst for lunch at one of the many cafes lining the canal ...If you'd like to get a look at a Deutscher city without tourists this would be a good choice...

    Papenburg Rathaus

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    Bourtange Bridges

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Feb 2, 2016

    The fortress was completely surrounded by water. The bridges are draw bridges, that would be opened to seal to fortress. Even when an enemy made it across, a long flat walkway over the water followed, running parellel to the gun battery of Bourtange. Not a welcome you want to have.

    Directions: Bourtange

    View onto the fortress - BourtNGE Main Entrance Bridge - Bourtange
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

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    Bourtange Gates

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Feb 2, 2016

    After the bridges the fortress gates were the next obstacle for attackers.

    There were just two narrow gates, making the village a real fortification.

    To reach the gates one has to walk over an angled bridge, open to gunfire from Bourtange.

    Directions: Bourtange

    Bourtange Gate Bourtange gate
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Road Trip

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    Bourtange Pictures

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Feb 2, 2016

    Just a couple of impressions; just go through the pictures.

    This village is ideal for one or more 'Kodak moments'. The walls give you a good opportunity to shoot some overview pictures. The streets offer lots of detail to capture on film.

    Directions: Bourtange

    Travelling by bicycle to Bourtange Bourtange Canon Inside the Bourtange Fortress Nice place to relax Local Fortress street
    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits

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    Start is (obviously) at the visitor centre

    by Pavlik_NL Updated Apr 6, 2005

    The "Vesting Bourtange" is a hidden gem in the North Dutch landscape. Hardly any mass tourist will ever see or find it, which is only at their loss. A "Vesting" is a village that has been turned into a fortress. This happened a lot in medieval times, when the map of Europe was constantly shifting and wars (civil as well as among states) was a usual thing. The same was in the 16th century, when Bourtange was appointed to become a fortified place, protecting the North-Eastern border of the Habsburgian Lowlands. William of Orange (Willem van Oranje, father of the fatherland) started the works that lasted ceveral centuries and eventually had this amazing result that ... never functioned. No army ever besieged Bourtange, no doubt also the reason why everything has been kept so beautiful and intact. In many ways it can be named the best preserved fortified village in it's kind within Europe, maybe even the world. More history can be found in the General-tips on this page.

    Note!!!": buy a "paspartout" first
    When one wants to visit the interiors of the synagoge, the captain's house and two other main attractions within the fortress, one should go first to visitor centre "De Poort" inside Bourtange fortress to obtain a so called "paspartout" ticket. This grants entrance to these four monumental buildings and completes your trip.

    Address: Willem Lodewijkstraat 33 (9545 PA) Bourtange

    Directions: Park the car at the visitor centre and get a information leaflet here, then start the walk over the first draw birdge and into the fortress.

    Phone: +31(0)599-354600

    Website: http://www.bourtange.nl

    The first bridge to walk over into the fortress

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    Walking through the fortresses hills and canals

    by Pavlik_NL Updated Apr 6, 2005

    Fortified villages in the late medieval times all got more or less the same spectacular shapes. Italian architectes, working together with Flemish and French colleagues, found out that a strategy of earth walls (from where artillery controlled the flat surroundings) in combination with canals, had a huge defensive effect on a attacking force. The starshape had the positive effect of bringing the enemy in range, while keeping the centre out of range from the enemy. Canals, earth walls and especially the dead ends and island "ravelines" made it for the attackers difficult to know where to start an offensive. When you walk through these outer parts of the fortress, imagine how a soldier then must have looked at these defensive walls and waters. And don't forget that in these times, aireal views were not available !

    Directions: follow the footpath from the visitor centre towards the entrance gate

    Website: http://www.bourtange.nl

    Ravelins, canals, earth walls and other defenses

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    You've got many bridges to cross to get in

    by Pavlik_NL Updated Apr 6, 2005

    To secure the canals on one hand, but keep a good connection for the present troops and arriving of supplies, draw bridges connected the paths over the canals. When opened, the passage would be blocked and the wet feet of attacjking forces ensured. On either side of the fortress Bourtange one has to go over three draw bridges to reach the inner earth walls with the two gates in them. The draw bridges are now-a-days painted red and contrast beautifully with their green surroundings and the blue waters on a clear day.

    Directions: follow the footpath from the visitor centre towards the entrance gate in front of which are two bridges

    Website: http://www.bourtange.nl

    Draw bridges that ensure safety against the enemy

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    Either the front- or the backdoor ...

    by Pavlik_NL Updated Apr 6, 2005

    After the bridges and a short walk through the defensive "ravelines" one reached the gate. Bourtange has two gates and visitors mostly enter through the "Friesse Poort" (Frysian Gate). One can see that the doors are strong and the entrance fortified with deep thick stone layers within the earth wall that surrounds the centre of the village. Whether this is the front- or the backdoor is not so important, though the Frysian Gate is pointed in the direction of nearby (later built) Bourtange civilian settlement.

    Directions: over the last bridge and through the gate

    Website: http://www.bourtange.nl

    Here we are, without fighting, swimming, climbing

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    A friendly welcome in a strategic fortress

    by Pavlik_NL Updated Apr 6, 2005

    In military sense one would expect something quite different then the neat little gardens and cosy houses with colourful decorations. The people that now-a-days live in Bourtange are taking very good care of their very special living places. This is of course a unique housing and the touristic importance makes it clear to the people to add to the scenery by making everything neat and cosy. Though isolated in the North-Eastern flanks of the Netherlands, I can imagine much worse places to live (-:

    Website: http://www.bourtange.nl

    Neat gardens and little cosy houses ... wonderful!

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    The weapons arsenal of the fortress

    by Pavlik_NL Updated Apr 6, 2005

    What would a fortress be without weapons? Bourtange had in several places weapon depots, but the main place to have storage was in the storage house left from the "Friesse Poort" (Frysian Gate). Here a series of large doors still show where in those days the muscets, bullets etc. were placed, waiting to be used in either excersises or "the real thing" (a battle). This last however never really came to be, as when the fortress was fully built, no enemy was stupid enough to attack here (also, because of the relative UNimportance of these surroundings in later times.
    In present days the staorage rooms have gotten another useful task. They form garages for the few people within the fortress Bourtange that have a car. This way the cars (that would spoil the scenery) are out of sight and the people still have the opportunity to drive somewhere whenever they want.

    Directions: After entering go to the left

    Website: http://www.bourtange.nl

    Where ones were the weapons, now stand the cars

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    The place for water, but no fire please!

    by Pavlik_NL Updated Apr 6, 2005

    On safe distance from the weapons depot, stuffed away in a safe corner, stands the gunpowder house ("Polver-magazijn" or "Kruitopslag"). Here the highly explosive gunpowder was stored and in wartimes this could be more then 20.000 pounds (in Dutch a pound is 500 grams, half a kilogram). One could imagine that this place had to be kept far away from fire, which was obviosuly also the reaosn why closeby the well was placed for water supply. Still I wonder what would happen when 10 tons of gunpowder would ignite ... well, I am afraid that one should worry anymore about that well ... nor about this whole section of the fortress.

    Directions: isolated left from the arsenal

    Website: http://www.bourtange.nl

    The gunpowder house and the well

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    Canons awaiting the eventual intruders

    by Pavlik_NL Updated Apr 6, 2005

    To secure the (wide) surroundings of the fortress, canons were placed on each point of the fivestar that the fortress is made of. Whole batteries were put in the innerring to give complete salvo's of artillery fire on besieging troops. The surroundings of Bourtange could be inundated (flooded with water) so that the enemy could hardly use themselves canons as a means to attack. The heavy weapons would sink in the mud or be instable while using them. The canons that are placed now-a-days in bourtange are partly the ones that were placed here in medieval times. Other are purchased and brought here to give a complete image of the old days.

    Website: http://www.bourtange.nl

    On several spots canons are still waiting

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    Religious food for the soldiers

    by Pavlik_NL Updated Apr 6, 2005

    Returned into the cosy streets of the village one of the first remarkable buildings is the white house on the left. When getting closer you notice the David's star and curiously cast a look inside. Here a pedistal with two scroles draw the main attention and one will come to the conclusion that this is a synagoge. This also could have been read on the sign on the wall next to the door, a system that is widely spread throughout the Netherlands when it concerns monumental buildings or historical landmarks. This synagoge came here in the year 1842, when relatively growing numbers of the population (soldiers, but of course often the more influential officers) were Jewish. Above the door the stone that says: "We gaan naar het Huis des Heeren in gespannen verwachting" (= We go to the House of the Lord in excited expectation).

    Directions: go back to the entrancegate and now turn to the centre of the fortress. On you left hand is the synagoge.

    Website: http://www.bourtange.nl

    For the jewish under the defenders

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    The junction of all ten streets

    by Pavlik_NL Updated Apr 6, 2005

    The fivestar shaped Bourtange has also in it's street pattern a adjoining of streets. Ten streets all end up on the "Markt" (= Market), the central square of the whole village, where - of course - the most important people had their houses, as well as some central buildings were placed (soldiers mess hall, administrative office and others). The square (actually a circle) is surrounded by trees that cast shadows over the Markt and keep it cool on warm summerdays. Now-a-days here are some shops as well as the terrace of the restaurant.

    Address: Markt

    Directions: continue walking towards the centre

    Website: http://www.bourtange.nl

    The centre where ten streets lead to

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Bourtange Things to Do

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