Fort Eben-Emael

Maastricht, Netherlands

Fort Eben-Emael

9

Fort Eben-Emael (French: Fort d'Ében-Émael, French pronunciation: ​[fɔʁ debɛn emal]) is an inactive Belgian fortress located between Liège and Maastricht, on the Belgian-Dutch border, near the Albert Canal, outside the village of Ében-Émael. It was designed to defend Belgium from a German attack across the narrow belt of Dutch territory in the region. Constructed in 1931–1935, it was reputed to be impregnable and at the time, the largest in the world. The fort was neutralized by glider-borne German troops (85 men) on 10 May 1940 during the Second World War. The action cleared the way for German ground forces to enter Belgium, unhindered by fire from Eben-Emael. Still the property of the Belgian Army, the fort has been preserved and may be visited.

The fort is located along the Albert Canal where it runs through a deep cutting at the junction of the Belgian, Dutch and German borders, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) northeast of Liège and about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) south of Maastricht. A huge excavation project was carried out in the 1920s to create the Caster cutting through Mount Saint Peter to keep the canal in Belgian territory. This created a natural defensive barrier that was augmented by the fort, at a location that had been recommended by Brialmont in the 19th century. Eben-Emael was the largest of four forts built in the 1930s as the Fortified Position of Liège I (Position Fortifiée de Liège I (PFL I)). From north to south, the new forts were Eben-Emael, Fort d'Aubin-Neufchâteau, Fort de Battice and Fort de Tancrémont. Tancrémont and Aubin-Neufchâteau are smaller than Eben-Emael and Battice. Several of the 19th century forts designed by General Henri Alexis Brialmont that encircled Liège were reconstructed and designated PFL II.

Thumbnail image credited to Additional info



Accommodations near Fort Eben-Emael

View more options near Fort Eben-Emael

Nearby Tours & Activities