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Walcheren 1809

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Walcheren 1809

Postby FBC-Elvas, Portugal » June 8th, 2014, 8:10 pm

Walcheren is the island in Zeeland in what was then the Batavian Republic and now is the southern Netherlands. Walcheren was infamous because of the Walcheren fever. viewtopic.php?f=23&t=1927&p=10587&hilit=walcheren+fever#p10587 The third post down explains what Walcheren Fever was.

There isn't much left on Walcheren to remind one of the British landings and French/Dutch resistance. The lovely old towns are still there and the Westpoort, a town gate on the harbour at Vlissingen, which was severly damaged in 1812 but has been restored.
Zeeland 1809.jpg
Vlissingen is in the foreground
Zeeland 1809.jpg (399.61 KiB) Viewed 1069 times


What's particularly interesting is Fort Rammakens. It was built from 1547 as part of the Hapsburg's defense system. It's the oldest sea fort in NW Europe. France seized the Low Countries in 1795 and Napoleon strengthened the walls of the fort after 1810, probably using the bricks from the church and large civil building that Carl V had had built.
Fort Rammekens.jpg
Fort Rammekens after Napoleon updated it
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Looking at a modern map of the Netherlands, you might wonder where the British could harbour its navy around Zeeland and how one sailed to Antwerp, which was the target both of the British and the French. Whoever controlled Antwerp controlled the most important port in NE Europe, from where Napoleon thought to invade Britain
Walcheren 1809.jpg
The yellow circle marks Fort Rammekens
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Re: Walcheren 1809

Postby Dominique T. » June 12th, 2014, 8:28 am

Thank you for this interesting topic, but I must correct two major errors.
In 1809, there was no Batavian republic anymore, it was the Kingdom of Holland.
Napoleon didn't seize the Low Countries in 1795, he was just a Brigadier at that time, and didn't serve there. So he has nothing to do with it.
Moreover, there were two separate countries, the Austrian Netherlands (= +/- Belgium) and the Dutch (later Batavian) Republic (+/-= the Netherlands)

One question, what damaged the Westerpoort in 1812, since there were no fightings then?
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Re: Walcheren 1809

Postby FBC-Elvas, Portugal » June 12th, 2014, 3:30 pm

Thanks Dominique for catching that. Napoleon himself used bricks from the Westpoort to build barracks in 1812, according to our guide. For our members who don't read Dutch, this sign on the wall of the tower says that the tower dates from the 15th century when there was a city gate here, the Westpoort. It was also a jail. The gate was demolished in 1812 in order to build a bombproof barracks against the tower. It was restored in 1894. The barracks were damaged in World War 2 and demolished. The tower was restored again 1962-1965.
Tower sign.jpg
Sign on the Westerport in Vlissingen
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This is the tower itself. It was part of the original town wall that ran to the right from the tower. There used to be water where I stood to take the photo.
Westpoort 2014.jpg
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Re: Walcheren 1809

Postby charnock » August 2nd, 2016, 7:44 pm

One other correction to this interesting post: despite its tag, the first image is clearly not of the 1809 attack, since the ships are from the late sixteenth or seventeenth century. I can't find a record of an attack on Vlissingen (Flushing) in this period, but there may well have been one. Incidentally, I would be interested in knowing details of the book from which the illustrations are copied.
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Re: Walcheren 1809

Postby FBC-Elvas, Portugal » August 3rd, 2016, 4:03 pm

I wish I could tell you. The book was in a glass case under lock and key. I thought I could tell you the name of the museum so you could ask them. It might have been the interesting museum in the old barracks in Vlissingen. There's a large, newly modernised museum in the harbour of Vlissingen too but I don't think I would have been allowed to take photos there.

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