Fort near Heemstede: a neighborhood park with military heritage

Fort bij Heemstede is part of the Defense Line of Amsterdam and is located in the village of Cruquius. Along the Ringvaart of the Haarlemmermeerpolder, surrounded by a beautiful neighborhood park. Did you know that the concrete bunkers of this fort are a unique object in history? In this article we take you to the 19th century, from the Prohibition in 1840 and the defense of Amsterdam, to the present. Will you walk, cycle or sail by soon?
Bunker with information board

Defense of drained polders

Haarlemmermeer used to mainly consist of large water plains. Because this caused flooding problems for polders in the wider area, it started in 1840 the drying out. But because of the newly drained polders, the enemy could get too close. Forts were needed in the northern part of Haarlemmermeer to defend against an attack on Amsterdam. Therefore, between 1843 and 1848, the foundations were laid for four tower forts: Fort aan het Nieuwe Meer, Fort Schiphol, Fort aan de Liede and Fort bij Heemstede. Fort near Heemstede was never completed. This is due to a lack of money and foundation problems on a peat soil that is too weak, as a result of the reclamation. 

Park with bunkers next to each other
Bunker with flowers

Preposition Cruquius as a new position 

For a while, Fort near Heemstede was nothing more than an earthen wall with a moat. Until 1916. Then it got a different function and name: Voorpositie Cruquius. The fort was converted into a front position, a military lookout post, for the newly built and nearby Fort bij Vijfhuizen. Eight bunkers made of reinforced concrete have been constructed for the conversion of the front position. The original structure had to be modified for this. For example, the soil of the earthen ramparts was used to close the moat and to cover the bunkers. The concrete bunkers are among the oldest military objects in this material worldwide and are still standing today. 

Neighborhood park with forms of the old fortress site

In 1926, Fort near Heemstede was discontinued as a defensive structure. Since then, the site has been partly used by neighboring companies. After a redevelopment at the beginning of the 21st century, there is now a beautiful neighborhood park around Fort bij Heemstede. Here you can partly admire the shapes of the old fortress grounds. The bunkers strewn with greenery are the unique remnants of this special piece of history.