Picture: Schellemill at the Damse Vaart in Damme.  

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Farm the "Stamper"
Farm Saint Christopher

House "de Grote Sterre"
House Saint John
Damme town hall
Saint-John's hospital
Medieval waterwell
Lock of the Lieve
Statue J.Van Maerlant
Our Ladies Church
NR Damme town walls
Damse Vaart
Bat reserve
Damme book village
Museum St-John's hospital
Museum town hall
Museum Schellemill

Town walls
NR Damme town walls

Bruges Gate
Fort Saint Donaas
Fort of Bavaria

Damme town walls

Location: around the centre of Damme, 8340 Damme [gps]
Accessibility: partially accessible

The 80-year war between the Northern Netherlands and Spain was the reason for the construction of the bastion Damme.  Between 1615 and 1620, the Spaniards erected a new defence girdle around the town in the form of a 7-star.  Damme was important to the Spanish because of it's position on the net of canals, because it was close to the  hostile town of Sluis and because it was ideally positionned to defend Bruges.  The mouth of the canal the "Lieve" (linking Ghent with Damme) was diverted inside the town and entered Damme now via a covered watergate (see casemate).  That gate was used lateron as a storage for ammunition and still can be seen.  Due to the construction of these new town walls, several old buildings (such as the old city gates (see Bruges Gate)) had to be pulled down.  From that moment on, the town could only be entered via two new gates.  A military governor ruled the town (or better: fortress) and Damme would remain a military stronghold until 1760.  In 1786, the grounds of the bastion were sold publically.

The double defence girdle is still very well visible, though suffered a bit from the influences of nature.  A large part of the walls is owned by the vzw Natuurpunt (an organisation for nature preservation).  The object is to entirely restore the walls around Damme.  In 2001, a part of the girdle was restored and during the excavations, the remains of an old construction were found (see Bruges Gate).  The walls have now become a nature reserve where several (some very rare) species of plant- and animalwildlife have found an ideal habitat.  The reserve measures about 55 ha.  A walk alongside the walls is more than worth your while.

Below digital pictures can give you a better idea on how the defence walls around Damme would have looked like in 1650.

1. field
2. glacis
3. ravelinsditch
4. ravelin
5. main ditch
6. underwall
7. main wall or bastion
8. centre of town
A. contrescarp
B. escarp
C. covered road

 Den Hoorn







Hendrik De Leyn - www.damme-online.com

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