While in The Netherlands last week a group of us drove to the north east of the country to visit a couple of Sangha friends. They live very close to the German boarder in the region of Westerwolde. On our way home we visited Bourtange.
The fortifications were initially built during the Eighty Years’ War when William of Orange wanted to control the only road between Germany and the city of Groningen which was controlled by the Spaniards. This road followed a sandy ridge (tange) through the marshes.
I was particularly taken with the mandala like configuration of the fort. It’s a pleasant place to visit, a quite village atmosphere, tasteful shopping, tranquil walks along the top of the moats. Unfortunately my photographs from this visit are locked into my camera with no way of downloading them until I find the appropriate cable. This is a great pity as I captured a windmill there, the only one I saw during my entire stay! You can see it here along with several other pictures of the site.
The building which housed the ammunition for the cannons caught my attention. Apparently the walls are a metre thick however the roof is not completely attached to the walls. This was done in anticipation of ‘accidents’. If the building were to blow up the force would blast off the roof and the walls remain intact thus saving the village from being destroyed.
Considering what has been happening in the U.K. recently and the resulting need for greater vigilance when traveling internationally this fort kind of puts things in perspective. The need to defend ones patch has been going on for centuries, the tactics and weaponry have changed however.
Fortification. Defensive structure consisting of walls or mounds built around a stronghold to strengthen it.
This is a time to sit still, and raise no barriers.