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© 1999-2024, René G.A. Ros
Last modified: 7/6/2024 (dmy)

Barracks, depots and infrastructure - Amsterdam Region

The general support facilities were often located in Amsterdam, because of the Defence Line and the New Dutch Waterline. Otherwise they played a role during the construction and the use of the Defence Line and made it possible for the forts and soldiers to do their duties.

This page lists all objects for general support located in the Amsterdam region. See Amsterdam City for more objects inside Amsterdam.

Storage and Distribution



Between 1884 and 1926, many smaller works were paid for by defence force funds. These works included roads. The purpose of these roads was to connect the forts and storage depots for the transportation of goods and messages. These roads were mainly located inside the Defence Line.


General Defence depot

Located along a side canal of the North Sea canal near the village of Zaandam. Never fully completed but used for limited storage of material and fuel like peat. Mostly built during WW I.

The oldest shed and peat depots were demolished but most of the buildings are still present although not all are in use.

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Mobilisation Storage Depot

Around 1918-1920 a storage depot was built at the location of a fort which was part of the predecessor of the Defence Line. Guns, projectiles and gunpowder was stored here for deployment in case of mobilisation. There was a special building for the Military Police guards. All of the larger buildings are still present.

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Navy Gunpowder Depot Kadoelen

Built in 1879 near the village Kadoelen for storage of gunpowder for use by the navy. Was put out of use and sold in 1925.

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Gunpowder Depot Spaarnwoude

In 1809 a depot was built near Spaarnwoude for de predecessor of the Defence Line. The current building is the third one on the original fundaments and was built in 1870. It is not known when is went out of use.

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Munition Depot Amstelveen

First depots were built west of the town Amstelveen in 1917-1918. Depots were demolished at an unknown date but the area remained in use by the army for barracks until around 1970.
From around 1952 to 1986 a listening post for Warsaw Pact radio stations was in operation.

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Steam Flour Factory 'Vrede'

Constructed in 1917-1918 to allegedly increase the flour factory capacity within the Defence Line. Was in operation until 1923 and from then on used as warehouse (silo and containers).

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Housing, Feeding and Care



Beside the Defence Line Command HQ, the lower hierarchical levels (sectors, groups and sections) each had their own headquarters dispersed around the Defence Line. Baiting-places and city halls were common locations for these headquarters.


Military Dispensary

This dispensary was located in the town of Zaandam. It was built in 1904.

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Office Engineers Corps

This house and depot in the town of Purmerend were build in 1920 and still in use by the Engineers Corps in 1951. Other information is not yet available. The main office was in one of the buildings of the Orange Nassau Barrack.

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Production and Maintenance


Artillery Manufacturing Works

Originally founded in Delft in 1679 but moved to inside the Defence Line in 1897. Located along the North Sea canal near the town of Zaandam.
Guns, rifles and ammunition were manufactured here. It was also used for the storage of guns and rifles.

Was in use by Eurometaal N.V., an ammunition- and metal- works, until 2003.

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Gunpowder Works "De Krijgsman"

Based in the town of Muiden in 1702 after the original mill in Amsterdam exploded and permission for rebuilding was not granted. Was in use by Muiden Chemie International B.V. until 2004.
("De Krijgsman" - "The Warrior")

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Drinking Water Provision

A backup water source was used during a siege when the normal supply was not use-able. The first experimental drill took place in 1887 and springs, steam pumping station and deferrization plant were operational in 1904. It could provide 15,000 cubic metres of drinking water per day.

The buildings still stand and are partly in use by Air Traffic Control.

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Gun Cotton Works "De Oude Molen"

Like De Krijgsman this factory also moved out of Amsterdam after an explosion demolished it in 1709. In 1742 it was taken over by a factory in the town of Delft which had also previously exploded.
Black gunpowder was produced until 1842 when production halted and was centralized in the factory of De Krijgsman. In 1894-1895 it was converted to a chemical factory for the production of guncotton / nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine. These smokeless explosives were manufactured until 1919 and probably again after 1922.

This plant was closed in 1991.
("De Oude Molen" - "The Old Mill")

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Airforce and Navy


Radiostation Haarlemmermeer

In 1936 a house, radio antenna and radio building were built to the west of the Military Airfield Schiphol. It was probably a radio beacon instead of a transmission or relay station. It existed at least until 1950-1957 but it is unknown until when it was used by the airforce. Later is became a police station. Currently the area is used for the storage of road construction material and only the house remains.

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Military Airfield Schiphol

This airfield started with wooden sheds in a grass field near the Fort near the Schiphol in 1916. In 1920 the civil aviation started to use the airfield too. Between 1921 and 1936, no planes were stationed here, it was only used for passing military traffic.

The fort was demolished and the airfield became a civil airfield which is now called Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

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Anti-Aircraft Guns Ouderkerk

Around several strategic locations were anti-aircraft guns placed between 1916 and 1918. There were 18 guns at six locations with 6 or 7 cm guns originally installed in the forts. One concrete emplacement near the Gun Cotton Works "De Oude Molen" is the only known remain.

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Military Tree Nursery

Behind the Fort near Vijfhuizen was the Military Tree Nursery for growing trees for use at the forts. Probably since 1890, more information is not available although the terrain is recognisable on an aerial picture from 1994.

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Shooting Targets Schoorl

In 1891 and 1892 extensive testing was done with a 21 cm mortar and a 15 cm gun to determine the best concrete composition and thickness for the new model fort. The shooting range was in the dunes along the North Sea coast near the village of Schoorl.

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Artillerie Shooting School

This heathland outside de Defence Line is in use as a shooting range since 1877.
A few casemates were built for experiments and training with guns and machine-guns in use on the Defence Line. One was a disappearing cupola with a 6 cm gun.

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Defence Line of Amsterdam. A city wall of water.
UNESCO Werelderfgoed sinds 1996
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'Introduction to the Defence Line of Amsterdam' is a interactive ebook about the Defence Line of Amsterdam.