Fort de Ruyter

 

Flushing (Vlissingen) is strategically located in the south west of the Netherlands at the border between the North sea and scheldt estuary along the important shiping lane towards Antwerp. Its crucial location was already recognized by the French who constructed a ring of fortresses around Flushing (pictured below, courtesy of www.flessinghe.nl) to protect it, following the bombardment by the Royal Navy in 1809. After the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, the French left Flushing in 1814 and the forts were renamed by the Dutch army. Fort St Hilaire was, for examle, renamed into fort de Ruyter and was ulitmately demolished in 1867. 

However, in 1903 plans were made by the Dutch government to bolster the coastal defences and these included specifically a novel fortress at the same location as the previously demolished fort de Rutyer. It was intented as a hepatagon-shaped fort equipped with four turrets housing 28 cm guns as well as two turrets with 12 cm guns and four 7.5 cm guns. This fort would be important to maintain Dutch neutrality by closing the shipping lane towards Antwerp in times of crises. It was decided that this fort would be called fort de Ruyter and its construction was initiated in 1913. 

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In 1915, however, its building was paused and the plans were updated to keep up with the technological advancements of WW1. The construction of fort de Ruyter started again in late 1916 but the project was halted in 1920 and subsequently abandoned in 1926 because WW1 had shown that forts were obsolete. 

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The unfinished fort was used in WW2 by the Germans as ammunition storage for their nearby FLAK batteries. After WW2, fort de Ruyter was demolished by the Dutch army.

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Today, the site is freely accesible and the remains are largely covered by earh, while several large wind turbines are roaring overhead. 

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