A while ago I visited the Fort Breendonk, a former nazi concentration camp that was originally built as part of a second ring of defenses around the city of Antwerp here in Belgium. Today I'd like to tell you about a fort that was part of the first ring of defenses around Antwerp, the Fort Liefkenshoek or Fort Kallo
The Fort Liefkenshoek was built between 1577 and 1583, at the same time as the Fort Lillo, which you can find on the other site of the river Schelde. Both fortresses had to protect the city of Antwerp against Spanish troops (which they failed to do) and they remained important because of their strategic location by the water.
You can learn all about the history of the fort and the region when you visit, but don't expect to see what Fort Liefkenshoek looked like inside years ago. While parts of Fort Breendonk seemed to be untouched, Fort Liefkenshoek has been modernized completely on the inside. The twelve rooms are divided into two sections: a museum part and an experience center.
Both the museum and the experience center are very kid-friendly. While the experience center only consists of educational games, there are also games in almost every room of the museum.
I have to say I found the outside area of Fort Liefkenshoek more interesting than the inside. Outside you clearly see the half circle-shape of the building and you can see the former bunkers and an old watchtower.
You can even walk up to the watchtower and from them walk all around the dike that keeps Fort Liefkenshoek partially out of sight. The contrast from up there is huge: below, the old fortress, and around it the river and industry.
When your visit is over, you can grab a drink at the on-site tavern, where they serve the local beer Bonàpart. It's the only place where you can get it!
Please check the website for current opening times.
Entrance to the fort is free. If you'd like to visit Fort Liefkenshoek with a guide, that's possible from May until September and it's free as well. If you want to book a guide for a group visit, there's a cost involved. Please check the website for the up-to-date price.
Because of COVID, you currently need to book a time slot if you want to visit the fortress.
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