Beauty of Dutch ruined defensive bunker turned spartan lodge




Twenty years ago when Ben Spee was looking for a “special” place to live, the Foundation Forteresse was planning to turn an old Dutch fort into a B&B. Spee moved in and spent the next 15 years helping turn a 19th-Century fortress- complete with moat- into a “special” place to spend the night.

In 1844, the Dutch began to construct Fort Vuren as part of the New Hollandic Waterline (Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie) a series of forts stretching 52 miles north-south through the countryside. Part of the country’s largest ever infrastructure investment, the Waterline (the original dates back to the 17th Century) relies on a chain of forts and shallow moats with water that could be strategically deployed to create an impassable muddy mess.

The Waterline served as more of a deterrent than something actually put to use (Fort Vuren was occupied only by invading Germans) and became obsolete with the introduction of air strikes in World War II.

Today, the Waterline has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Regional governments, following ideals of “preservation through development”, are renovating the forts into restaurants, museums and lodging.

Ben Spee helped oversee a massive renovation of Fort Vuren that began in 2010 that included protection from the area’s high humidity: inserting a vapor barrier in the walls and using geothermal energy to heat the floors. Today, the old fort has 9 rooms within the circular counterscarp (added on in 1878). There are also two “fort lodge” homes for rent inside an old barrack.

For the truly “adventurous”, there’s a tiny bunker turned bunkhouse for rent by the weekend/week. Just 3 meters by 3 meters, the half submerged structure sleeps four in retractable wooden bunkbeds. It’s also plumbed and wired with a small kitchen, complete with stovetops, sink and mini fridge.

We tested the converted shelter for one night and found it surprisingly comfortable for all five of us. As a bonus for those with young kids, it’s isolated and soundproof.

Despite the new accommodations and additional overnight guests, the fort still retains a timeless quiet, and for Ben, and the rest at Fort Vuren, this intimacy remains a core value.

Fort Vuren lodging:

Drone footage courtesy of Jaap Brunner

Original video:

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40 Comments

  1. NWObusters
    April 25, 2017
    Reply

    the innocence of those young girls is so precious. Reminded me of myself as a child. Thank you

  2. Bibin Thampy
    April 25, 2017
    Reply

    Zombie proof kind of bunker.. Nice

  3. J Jarvis
    April 25, 2017
    Reply

    job well done

  4. Brian Bogia
    April 26, 2017
    Reply

    Smart, that is all I can say about this.

  5. Trinity Kay
    April 26, 2017
    Reply

    It's nice to see you visited my country 🙂 great video but I could never live in a bunker it's too 'benauwend' haha

  6. Maria Chat
    April 26, 2017
    Reply

    I like that you adjust your work to be around your children /family and not the other (typical) way around.

  7. mukongolo Sitati
    April 26, 2017
    Reply

    Kirsten i can not believe how fast your lovely children have grown, this kids are very fortunate to have two very loving parents, i wish your family all the best.

  8. HellScream
    April 27, 2017
    Reply

    I watch these videos with the hope that someday I can build a secret hide-out at work and sleep when I'm hung over.

  9. William Thompson
    April 27, 2017
    Reply

    That's one of your best edited videos. I really enjoyed it

  10. Margo Seeley
    April 27, 2017
    Reply

    I love watching and hearing your children talk and explore all the places you have gone, the world is their class room! You are wonderful parents to take them with you!
    PEACE

  11. Ciderbu
    April 30, 2017
    Reply

    couldn't handle so much of the irrelevant footage like kids walking on the ceiling. vids are pretty lengthy and slow already to stretch and dilute them even more like that

  12. mindadventurer
    May 2, 2017
    Reply

    prices are way way to high.

  13. Khiem Le
    May 2, 2017
    Reply

    Funny how they said they were afraid about the French invading. It appears the French did with new interior design

  14. oplakanska studio
    May 4, 2017
    Reply

    Your videos are very interesting!

  15. holymolie
    May 9, 2017
    Reply

    I keep thinking this would be a perfect place to survive a zombie apocalypse.. : )

  16. mIChElLe bRAKemAn
    May 10, 2017
    Reply

    I'm totally into your videos with the traveling to different parts of the world. I always wanted to travel to see things just like this here!
    Btw I was watching this and totally interested and at 13:52 I hear an evp or whispering voice say my name….Michelle….oh my I had to rewind it several times. I'm not sure how much you know about these strange types of voice phenomenon of past lives etc. but it was so clearly there!
    Love your videos and Take care!

  17. Jesus was a Carpenter
    May 11, 2017
    Reply

    Raising future spies

  18. Troy Brown
    May 11, 2017
    Reply

    this place is a trip. I'd stay there for sure

  19. Michael Caltrider
    May 12, 2017
    Reply

    how long do you think it took to build that place back in the day?

  20. pagansforbreakfast
    May 13, 2017
    Reply

    If this was in the US it would be surrounded by a fence and a security would run you off if you tried to get inside.

  21. Lockbar
    May 14, 2017
    Reply

    Everything is fun, until the German para-troopers start landing and blow the doors open……

  22. Gabi Koonings
    May 14, 2017
    Reply

    So, you liked it here in the Netherlands ?
    What kind of stuff did you go and see ?
    Did you come to see some family ? Because Dirksen, as many may not know, is a very dutch name. Or do you not have any family anymore and did you just come for the historical stuff ?

    And remember, if it ain't dutch, it ain't much 😛

  23. Bella Donna
    May 15, 2017
    Reply

    Awesome place.

  24. Willem van Bruchem
    May 15, 2017
    Reply

    I'm kind of ashamed of the (D)English. Since I'm Dutch myself. If you don't know what denglish is, it's a combination of Dutch and English.

  25. dre nosgoth
    May 16, 2017
    Reply

    pas maar op met je drone vid er is een klopjacht aan de gang naar drone gebruikers ook ik was de lul

  26. Leigh Rich
    May 16, 2017
    Reply

    So cool

  27. Javier Mora
    May 17, 2017
    Reply

    Hello Kirsten, you have always such great videos about homes. This one is great! I wanted to ask you what cammera(s) do you use? Thanks!

  28. luckym0nk3y
    May 18, 2017
    Reply

    that's not meubelplaat, it's plywood. meubelplaat is veneered

  29. Marsmith
    May 19, 2017
    Reply

    awesome

  30. Tamycoladelyves Gonnet-Nguyen
    May 21, 2017
    Reply

    Sensationnel! Exceptionnel! Magnifique! et très insolite! A faire connaître: Merci!

  31. Tamara Weber
    May 28, 2017
    Reply

    Amazing!!!

  32. Linda Priester
    July 6, 2017
    Reply

    jee Maarten, wat leuk en interessant om dit gezien te hebben! We vinden het geweldig, bedankt voor de tour!

  33. Malak Makonnen
    July 11, 2017
    Reply

    OKAY IM AINT GONE SAY NOTHING ELSE……

  34. Jeff Bingaman
    September 4, 2017
    Reply

    Are they living in a moat?

  35. JAchica11
    October 12, 2017
    Reply

    claustrophobia on fleek! lol!

  36. HelenaMawie
    October 20, 2017
    Reply

    Very happy how they kept it the true building, made it a healthy environment an a beautiful place to stay. Impressive.

  37. Andy M
    November 21, 2017
    Reply

    I went past that place 2 years ago,wish i knew about it back then.

  38. Paul Smeets
    November 21, 2017
    Reply

    Nice to the top

  39. Huntington Beach Sasquatch
    November 22, 2017
    Reply

    Talk soooo fast Sounds like a Chipmunk!

  40. Nasuper 100
    November 23, 2017
    Reply

    super

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