Ostend is a fantastic place to visit for nightlife, culture and history and a real jewel in our crown is the newly renovated Fort Napolean, located in Vuurtorenweg, around 10-minutes’ drive from our Ostend Hotel. It’s a fascinating place to visit for lovers of storytelling, history, and local events. Book a stay in Leopold Hotel Ostend for a handy base to visit the city, the Casino Kursaal and the beach, which is a short walk away. Our 3-star boutique hotel is a great place to rest and unwind after a day of exploring. Book your stay on our official website today.
Who was Napoleon?
Napoléon Bonaparte, referred to simply as Napoleon in English, was a French military leader who led several successful campaigns during the Revolutionary Wars. He was born in Corsica on August 15th 1769 and after his father’s death before his 16th birthday, took the position of head of the family. He joined the army and became an officer in 1785, fighting in the French Revolution and gradually rising through the ranks. He was appointed commander in chief of the Italian Army in March 1796. The emperor went on to conquer much of Europe in the early 19th century.
The Battle of Waterloo, which took place in Belgium on June 18, 1815, marked the final defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte. After his defeat, he was sent into exile on the remote island of St. Helena, where he died six years later, likely from stomach cancer. He remains one of the most celebrated ‘villains’ in history bringing stability and positive reforms to countries ravaged by a decade of revolution but denying his people several rights, including freedom of speech.
History of Fort Napoleon
Napoleon feared an attack from England at the port of Ostend and so commissioned an impressive fort in the former dunes along the coast. The impressive polygonal fort was built in the Napoleonic Era, circa 1181. A British attack never happened and for a while, the fort mainly functioned as an armoury and a location for the French army.
After the fall of the French in 1815, Napoleon’s army withdrew and the fort fell into disrepair, the victim to theft and vandalism. The fort was soon taken over by the English and renamed Fort William. After Belgium became independent in 1830 the fort, then renamed Fort Napoleon, was again garrisoned, this time by Belgian soldiers. During World War I & II the fort was taken into use by German forces and once again slipped into disrepair after the wars ended. Between 1995 & 2012, the building was restored and turned into the modern museum we know today.
Visit Fort Napoleon
Wouldn’t it be great if the walls of this ancient fort could talk? Well, now they do! You can discover the brand-new story trail inside the newly refurbished fort telling hundreds of years of history in an exciting and interactive way. Learn the stories of the soldiers that called it home and the hundreds of events that happened within its boundaries. If you stand close enough to the immense stone walls, you’ll hear what happened in the Fort during the past two centuries while being amazed by its awesome architecture. There is even an adapted tour aimed at educating children to make a trip to Fort Napoleon a brilliant family day out.
Events in Fort Napoleon
The venue is used for more than just a blast from the past, there are often events in Fort Napoleon. Ostend City is organizing a brand-new visual spectacle ‘The International Photo Biennale Ostend’ in the late summer of 2021, where you can discover never-before-seen work by acclaimed Belgian art photographer Marc Lagrange. The refurbishments have also included a brand-new tourist information point where staff are happy to help you to book tours and tickets for events & shows. They host team buildings events regularly for businesses and community groups and offer school groups discounted admission.
Author Bio: Katie McGarr is a resident writer for Leopold Hotel Ostend, a lovely boutique hotel housed in a unique Art Deco building and located in the heart of Ostend City. When she’s not making art, you can find her writing inspiring articles about travel, food, and cultural appreciation.