We usually don’t do a lot of touristy things. That all changes when it comes to learning about history. Our vacation home was a short drive to Maastricht. Needless to say we ended up visiting the city quite often. We had a week of unplanned events so we decided to see what we could do to pass the time.
We decided on a tour of the Fort St. Pieter. Now, Maastricht has a ton of things to do and this was one of them. Sander and I found that we enjoy these sorts of tours. We always meet interesting tour guides and have a blast. We did this in California when we saw the Queen Mary.
The tour was an hour long and our guide was a wonderful little old Dutch lady. Her accent was heavy but her story telling skills were superb. She took us on a tour of the exterior of the fort and had a lot to share.
Erected in 1701, Fort St. Pieter stands in the south of Maastricht. It served as an armed military base for the Dutch against the French and stood against many marches. But it fell under a powerful siege and the Dutch surrendered.
After the war, the government wanted to tear down the fort. Instead a farmer petitioned to move in. He could live there under the condition that he dismantled all war-time items. The farmer did this but he tossed everything into the moat!
The renovations took the fort to new heights, quite literally. The new and old are visible in great contrast.
Then she took us inside the fort to where the cannons had been erected. These cannons were used against the French and had unique balls. The balls were hollow and could be filled with metal shards or glass. Once airborne, these cannons exploded and showered the enemy with the contents.
She took us even deeper into the fort after that. She showed us various and now empty living spaces and corridors. It’s always humbling to think of who might have lived in those places during that period. Countless men lived down in those dark hallways. Some even died down there. A strange idea that now we tour the empty halls as if nothing had ever happened.
Now the outer area of the fort serve as a cafe and restaurant for patrons and tourists. There’s also a long wandelen path close by for people and dogs.
We both recommend this tour and the caves one as well!