Fort Island Pampus was built between 1887 and 1897. To defend Amsterdam a military master plan was conceived, the Defense Line of Amsterdam. Against an attack from the River IJ it was decided to build a fortress in the Lake IJmeer. This was to be located on the sand bank “Pampus”. The first stage of the building was to lay down a work platform where the centre of the fort would stand. The vast quantities of material were delivered by ship out of Amsterdam. A German Company built the steel gun turrets.

The Wars

Although Pampus was built under the orders of the Dutch Ministry of War it was never used in any wartime actions. The fort was manned during the First World War and in peacetime only the Fort Watcher lived on the island. Fort Island Pampus was closed in 1933.

A deserted and plundered fortress

During the Hunger Winter of 1944/45 it was very cold and the lake froze over so the island became reachable over the ice and the people from Amsterdam stripped all the wood off the island to burn for warmth. Before then the Germans, who occupied the island for a while, stripped all the metal from the island for their war industry. The fort then fell into ruin. In 1962 the island was occupied for a time by students. The remains of their visit can still be seen in the many slogans and wall paintings they left behind.

The start of the Charity

At the end of the 1980’s five people from Muiden decided that the deterioration of the island had to stop. On 20th February 1990 the island was eventually sold by the Netherland’s State to the Charity. The restoration could begin. With a large volunteer workforce the fort was freed from all the rubbish, rubble and undergrowth.


Pampus is visited yearly by many tourists. Pampus has now grown into a tourist attraction. Fort Island Pampus would not be what it is today without the help of the many hands. Thanks to the years-long input from volunteers, the fort has become a valuable monument. These volunteers have made their place in history. Pampus opened on the 8th of July 2011 as the first National Visitors Centre of the Defense Line of Amsterdam.

Pampus today

The Fort Island is now open to the public daily throughout the season. It is also possible to hire the Island for parties, weddings and events.