Fortress Island Pampus – 19th century history

Dutch Water Works 
Military History
Free Guided Tours 
Family Friendly
Amazing View 
And more…

Pampus Island was made to build a huge fortress to defend Amsterdam at the end of the 19th century. The authentic fortress can now be visited independently or as a group. There are free guided tours, interactive tours, puzzle tours, kids activities and a restaurant with an amazing view.

The island is part of the the Defence Line of Amsterdam, a system of defense works constructed between 1880 and 1920. It consists of a ring of forts, dams, locks, dykes and ramparts around Amsterdam. By flooding the surrounding area, Amsterdam could be secured against invasion within 48 hours. The system of 46 island forts presented a formidable obstacle to any enemy trying to capture the city. The Defence Line of Amsterdam was placed on the World Heritage List in 1996.

Pampus is situated in the former inland sea the Zuiderzee at a stone’s throw away from Amsterdam. At low tide it used to block the access of seagoing ships to the Amsterdam port. It was quite a handicap for the VOC, the Dutch East Indian Trading Company. Late in the 19th century an island fort was built at the site as one of a ring of 42 fortifications surrounding Amsterdam. The fort was abandoned in 1933 when the Zuiderzee was closed off from the North Sea by a dam and became the lake IJsselmeer.

The boat excursion including a visit to the fortress island (2,5 hours) takes about 4 hours

Things to do at Pampus

  • Discover the Defence Line of Amsterdam: the national Defence Line exposition is located at the island. During your visit you can learn everything about this ingenious defense plan.
  • Guided tours are offered for free.
  • Do you want to discover the fortress and the island yourself? Wander through the mysterious corridors and rooms with the pampus roadmap.
  • Have something to drink or eat at the restaurant, and enjoy the magnificent view over the IJmeer.


The ferry leaves once daily at 10.45  am sharp. Seats are limited. Please reserve your tickets in advance to be sure of a spot on board. From 28 May to 11 August there is an extra departure leaving at 1.15 pm. 

Difficulties booking your tickets? Please fill in the contact form below to have your spot on board reserved for you.

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