Campaign for drawing

Spijkerboor Travel Blog

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Fort Spijkerboor

After browsing the information for the 2010 "Stellingmaand" I decided I would join the Campaign for drawing held at Fort Spijkerboor, thus combining an afternoon of drawing with a visit at the fort.

Located in the southwest of the Beemster (both the Defence line and the Beemster are on UNESCO's world heritage list) which promised a nice drive at Beemster's Zuiderweg, which is one of the mainroads at the 400 year old polder, but a picturesque one. On that road I passed 2 other forts of the defenceline before I reached my destination at Beemster's soutwest corner. Had to park the car on the Beemster Westdijk, not too fond of that because of the circular canal next to it, but I managed to keep the car out of the water (piece of cake ofcourse), and even more important: the wheels where still on ground level and were not sunken in the soil - you never know for sure with the polder dikes :P

The Spijkerboor location was a weak place in the defence line, being a meeting point of 5 waterways.

View at the fort from the Beemsterdijk
I guess that is the reason Fort Spijkerboor is the biggest fort of the defence line, and it is also the most northern one. The process of building started in 1887 with digging out the original soil which had to be replaced by sand to make a firm foundation. Around 1900 the water controls of the surrounding area were ready, and the fort building was delivered by the year 1913; The building did not start before 1910 because the sand had to bed down first.

Entering the fort I found my way at the dimlit corridors to the drawing area. The mission was to give an impression of living beneath the surface or the feeling the mobilized soldiers must have had living in a bunker. So I took a clipboard with drawingpaper and some charcoal, and explored the complex of corridors to look for a suitable (read: drawable for my skill) subject.

Entrance road to the fort
Ofcourse I also went outside, and decided the view at the Beemsterpolder beyond the machinegun positions would be my subject, because that concrete spot looked so small compared to the wide surroundings. Poor soldiers hardly had the opportunity to enjoy this view.
So I sat down next to the turret for the fast firing cannons (which were actually the most modern ones they had these days) - and I was glad these things were not functioning aymore.
Sun was shining and every now and then a guide came with some visitors explaining interesting facts about the fort; when after about an hour my hands grew a bit too cold to draw accurate I  felt my drawing was ready, so I returned into the relatively warmer building.

Because of that drawing I missed the tour to the turret, only saw the outside of it, so I asked one of the guides if I could still have a look at it, and so I got a private tour.

Machine gun position, and a view at the fields of the Beemster
Seemed I walked about 4 or 5 times past the black metal pole in the middle of the corridor without noticing it was the actual entrance to the cannons. After climbing two vertical kind of stairs we entered a small area; I learned how the cannons were loaded, was impressed by the fact those armaments could fire 15 kilometers away, but could not figure out how they actually were operated. Ah, who cares, since I don't have any intention to ever fire such a thing. 

After descending to ground level I picked up my drawing, and left the fort for home again.

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Fort Spijkerboor
Fort Spijkerboor
View at the fort from the Beemster…
View at the fort from the Beemste…
Entrance road to the fort
Entrance road to the fort
Machine gun position, and a view a…
Machine gun position, and a view …
View from my drawing spot at the B…
View from my drawing spot at the …
Turret
Turret
Main corridor inside the fort; in …
Main corridor inside the fort; in…
15 km (9 miles) traveled
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photo by: ik-ben-10eke