Fort Liefkenshoek. A Napoleonic fortress on a sixteenth century walled and bastioned site. On the banks of the Scheldt, in the middle of an industrial area.
It might seem a strange and anachronistic combination. A combination which hides an exciting history. The fate of a fort that was literally raised from the heavy polder clay at the end of the sixteenth century to protect the rebellious town of Antwerp against the Spaniards led by Alexander Farnese and bent on reconquering it. Which, by the way, failed magnificently. And a fort which then remained in the hands of the northern Netherlands for two centuries as an enclave in southern Netherlands territory. Liefkenshoek then dominated the polder land behind it and in partnership with Fort Lillo regulated the shipping on the Scheldt. And thus also trade to and from Antwerp. And did you know that Napoleon later used the fort in his defence works against the English? And that only a hundred years ago, this was where sick emigrants were nursed and contagious emigrants kept in quarantine?
The visitor centre in Fort Liefkenshoek focuses on the centuries-old struggle of man against water: floods and land reclamations, wars and the establishment of the national border, fisheries and agriculture and the growth of industrialisation. The theme uniting all these developments is the intriguing role played by Fort Liefkenshoek.
In the experience centre, children under 14 as well as their parents and grandparents, may enjoy hearing about the history of the fort and the residents’ stories. Through a range of games and activities, they are enthralled by the fantastic story that this impressive fort has to tell.
During the dyke walk around the fort and on the watchtower, the visitor gets a feel for the spacious environment. The periscopes are a handy tool here, also for anyone with a disability.
A visit to the fort is an inspiring, exciting, confrontational and interesting experience which you can finish with a delicious BONàPART (blond beer with a rich hop flavour) in the cafeteria, before exploring the region in more depth!
For opening hours and more information:
Dienst Toerisme Beveren
Tel: 0032 (0)3 750 15 80
Visiting address Fort Liefkenshoek:
Ketenislaan 4 – haven 1974
Tel: 0032 (0)3 750 12 90