Fort Napoleon in Ostend is a polygonal fort built in the Napoleonic era. It has recently been restored and is open to the public.

France had occupied the Austrian Netherlands (a territory roughly corresponding to the borders of modern Belgium) during 1792 and 1793 in the Flanders Campaign of the French Revolutionary Wars. During the War of the Fifth Coalition, Napoleon Bonaparte expected a British assault from the sea on the port of Ostend, and the fort was constructed in the sand dunes close to the mouth of the harbour in 1811. The British attack never materialised and the fort was used as for troop accommodation and as an arsenal until the end of the French occupation in 1814 when it was abandoned.

During World War I, the fort was used as accommodation for a German headquarters, and decorated with murals by German soldier Heinrich Otto Pieper. The heavy coastal artillery battery Hindenburg was stationed nearby. It was armed with four 280 mm guns of 1886-1887 vintage in heavily armored turrets on semi-circular concrete platforms. It was captured by the Belgian army in 1918.

The fort was also used as German artillery headquarters during World War II. After the war, it served as a museum and then a children's playground before falling into decay. In 1995, the fort was restored and opened to the public in 2000.



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Spinoladijk, Ostend, Belgium
See all sites in Ostend


Founded: 1811
Category: Castles and fortifications in Belgium

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3.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

German Nudelman (2 years ago)
if you around, this is an interesting place to stop by.
Abdullah Shariff (2 years ago)
Must see Lovely fort right next to the beach. It's made up of very small size bricks. Public Transport here is a single tram line #0. If you plan to go to the beach here make sure to take the tram line back, else it's a long walk back to oostend central
Quinten Verniers (2 years ago)
We visited the "Big art for little Children" expo. We apsolutely loved it. Very nice expo and super friendly staff. The museum is very nice and has a lot of history. They use iPods for audio guides so you can learn about the fortress.
Nykle Krijgsveld (2 years ago)
Very nice historical site, no additional information or reading signs, adding these would make me give more stars.
Bjorn Coopman (2 years ago)
Nice historic site, with great views all around. Shame about the Belgian weather. Inside, the museum space is nice, but not very warm in winter. The parking could also use an update.
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