Fort Pampus Mar 25, 2014
In 1870 the French mobilized their forces for an attack on the Prussian Empire. Outraged by this sign of hostility, the remaining German states quickly joined their Prussian brethren and launched a counterattack. The French responded by doing what they always do when war is upon them; losing, and quite horribly at that. It took the Germans a measly 9 months to annihilate the French forces.
This made the Dutch very nervous. An army that could decimate the mighty France without breaking a sweat would make mincemeat out of a small country like the Netherlands. To prepare for potential invasion they started building a ring of forts packed with massive cannons around the Amsterdam area, including Fort Pampus.
But this is where the excitement stops. To conquer the Amsterdam area, the Germans had to develop a war-galley that could traverse shallow water so they tasked their engineers to use their technical prowess and make a floating masterpiece; the Wespe was born.
Unfortunately for them, it turned out to be as steady as a drunken sailor riding a unicycle during an earthquake. They were utterly useless.
Pampus got decommissioned before the start of the second World War so when the Germans did finally arrive it was completely undefended (but would have been outclassed due to the outdated weaponry). The cannons were still there, but no one was around to actually use them. Because dismantling cannons takes a lot of time Fritz decided to use explosives to blow them into smithereens and ship the debris to German factories where the metal could be used to, ironically, create cannons, missiles, and grenades.
This is pretty much the story of Fort Pampus but you have to be Dutch to be able to learn any of this on site. There are no English-speaking tour guides and I noticed only one English information sign. It is not all bad though. Fort Pampus was built on a small island and the ferry ride towards it is quite pleasant, also the nearby village of Muiden is quite picturesque.
I wouldn't recommend Fort Pampus for people that do not understand Dutch, but it is quite a pleasant day out for us locals.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!