Bourtange is a historical village located in the Southeast of the Groningen province. It is surrounded by a star-shaped fort built in 1593 in order to control the only road between Germany and the city of Groningen during the Dutch Revolt. As it is very close to the German border, its position was crucial to the area. After the final battle in 1672, the fort continued to serve as a defense point on the German border until it became a village in 1851. Now it functions as a historical museum.
I had the pleasure to stay for one night in the village, at a fortress lodging. I even slept on a bedstee, a type of covered bed that soldiers used to sleep on. At the village you can find a souvenir shop for gifts, an old type candy store, a watchmaker shop, the candle shop “Victoria” and enjoy a warm wine and a nice meal at the village’s restaurants. The village has many museums you can visit (Terra Mora, Museum “The Baracquen”, Captain’s House, The Synagogue), and various other places of interest that demonstrate the history of the place. Some of them are the various Officers’ Houses (Major’s House, Captain’s House, Commander’s House, Schoolmaster’s House, Convoy Master’s House) the Priest’s House, the soldiers’ barracks, the cannons, the two gates, the “secreten” (toilets of the old days), the bastions, bridges, ditches, ramparts, the guardhouses, the picturesque Market Square, the church, the Peat Barn, the horse mill, the standard mill, the Synagogue, the powder houses, the former forge and many others! Check out the photo gallery below to see some of those places!
The village even organizes reenactments of the Bourtange battle and other types of markets and events throughout the year. Check here for more information. If you are lucky, you can spot the soldiers marching at the main square of the village. Bourtange is a typical example of the Dutch saying “klein maar fijn”, which translates into “small, but beautiful”, since it is all about quality over quantity.
Bourtange Fortress in Southeast Groningen. November 2017. The Netherlands. Minolta dynax 7000i, Kodak Gold, ISO 200, 35mm film.