Tag Archives: Brilschans

Fort 5 Berchem

Description – Fort 5 of Berchem was part of the first line of forts protecting the city of Antwerp designed by Brialmont. It is a so called Keller fort but should not be confused with the later forts located more to the east and to the south. It was built on a strategic location but was not part of a genuine defensive circle.

Construction & Armament – The fort was built in 1851 featuring earth works (palisades). Later a brick main building was added roughly the shape of a horse shoe. Initially these forts did not have a saillant towards the city. When later upgrades were added it became a genuine fort. This raised tensions with the city of Antwerp who feared possible bombardments. Fort 5 Berchem had a five pointed star shape with bastions; the design is the same as Fort 2 Deurne. It featured a wet moat.

Armament –

  • ?x Cannon

Current condition – In 1858 these small forts were completed but by that time it became clear that they could not defend the city of Antwerp. Their location made it impossible to include them in future defensive positions so they were declassified or absorbed in the Grote Omwalling.  Fort 5 was included in the Grote Omwalling and the main building served as a redoubt. Construction of the R1 ringroad erased most trances. Today part of the moat is still accessible in Park Brilschans, named for the former redoubt or fort.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R.; Remes, K.; Cannaerts, J.

Mechelen Gate

Description – The Mechelen gate was part of the Grote Omwalling (city defensive wall) to the east. It was a monumental gate that offered acces to Antwerp (Borgerhout) and to Deurne. The gate was part of the front 8-9 and was linked to barracks together with the Berchem gate located a bit more north.

Construction & Armament – This monumental gate was built using bricks and earth works. The Grote Omwalling entails two defensive moats and intervals called saillants.

Current condition – All remnants of the Mechelen gate have been demolished in 1931 (?). Later the construction of the Antwerp ring road erased most traces but a part of the nearby fortifications can still be found on the Wolvenberg park/terrain more to the east. To the south a part of the moat still exists (Brilschans).

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R. ;

Berchem Gate

Description – The Berchem gatewas part of the Grote Omwalling (city defensive wall) to the east. It was a monumental gate that offered acces to Antwerp (Borgerhout) and to Deurne. The gate was part of the front 8-9 and was linked to barracks together with the Mechelen gate located a bit more south.

Construction & Armament – This monumental gate was built using bricks and earth works. The Grote Omwalling entails two defensive moats and intervals called saillants.

Current condition – All remnants of the Berchem gate have been demolished in 1931 (?). Later the construction of the Antwerp ring road erased most traces but a part of the nearby fortifications can still be found on the Wolvenberg park/terrain. More to the south one can still distinguish part of the moat at Brilschans park.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R. ;