Arriving in the entrance hall of Fort Kijkduin, located close to Den Helder in the Netherlands, visitor attention is immediately caught by a large exhibit.
It depicts the landing battle between the English and (Napoleon’s)French on the beaches here. An information board translates as:
“The early morning landing from 27 August 1799.
The English ships produce such heavy fire that the Bataafse army could not prevent the enemy from coming ashore.
Even worse, both of the rifle battalions (green uniforms) had to retreat to the hamlet of Groote Keeten.
Additionally, the second Battalion of the 5th Half Brigade (Blue and white uniforms) was forced to retreat to the Koegras.
The losses from the Bataafse side: approximately 1400 men.
The losses from the English side:approximately 500 men.
As a result of this landing Napoleon ordered the buildings of fortifications in Den Helder, including this fort.”
The little model figures and boats depict the battle, but are safely under a protective cover, away from inquisitive little fingers.This is how, as soon as we get in the door, we find the reason that this fort was built… and since starting at the beginning is very good idea, so in we go!