Only two kilometers off the border with northern Germany lies the small village of Bourtange, within the Dutch province of Groningen. But this was not an ordinary village, it was actually an amazingly well preserved star fort village, so well preserved that walking through the stone gates really felt like travelling back in time and participating in the village life of the 17 hundreds.
As it turned out, Bourtange was commissioned as an actual fortress in 1580 along the only road through the marshes between northern Germany and the then Spanish occupied city of Groningen. The plan to cut off the Spanish while taking control of the road must have been successful, as Bourtange fortress was erected well enough never to have been taken over by any enemies during its time of operation.
But what was initially meant to be a simple military fortress slowly became more and more a residential place, and by the time all military functions ceased in 1851 Bourtange had evolved into a perfectly shaped five star fort village. And thanks to some great reconstruction efforts in the 1960s and 70s, the fort village atmosphere could still be experienced today.
Entering Bourtange museum cost a 6 euro fee, but walking the village itself was entirely free and the best thing to do anyway. As the museum and tourist shops closed at 5 pm sharp and the flood of tourists left for the day, this proved to be the perfect time to arrive. All of a sudden the star fort village became a really quiet place to wander around, sit with an ice cream and talk to some of the few local residents. What a perfect place to visit if one likes to time travel and spend the afternoon in the 1750s…
Impressions of Bourtange Village
Houses of Bourtange
Public Features of Bourtange
Facilities of Bourtange
Getting to Bourtange from Groningen
Have you been to Bourtange? Did you visit any other fortified town or time travel place?
This post is part of Travel Photo Mondays and Sunday Traveler above.