The Fort bij Vijfhuizen is one of the first concrete buildings in the Netherlands. As part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam, a large-scale 19th-century construction project, it was intended to protect Amsterdam from a hypothetical enemy invasion. Through manipulation of the water level, with strategic use of existing plants and through specific interventions in the landscape, the opponent could be slowed down and the Amsterdam citizens could survive.
The construction was completed, but would never fulfill its intended function – although there are signs that indicate its discouraging effect. However, its story remains a source of inspiration. Just as the fort was built at the time as a defense strategy against potential doom, Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen is now a development site for scenarios for peaceful futures: futures in which generations after us live together sustainably and equally with the planet and everything on it. To this end, the fort works together with both regional and (inter)national partners.
At the intersection of military heritage, ecology and artistic experiment, the Kunstfort creates moments of imagination, deepening and encounter, inviting us to look at and think about the world differently. In interaction with the immediate environment, artists and thinkers question existing systems and create alternative realities. The ideas take shape in, among other things, visual presentations, public conversation and educational activities. At the Kunstfort, there are presentation rooms, studio homes, a restaurant, a gin distillery, studios, a workshop, office spaces and guest rooms. A bee flower field is kept within walking distance.
The fort island is located on the edge of Haarlemmermeer and is surrounded by distinctive examples of Dutch spatial planning, such as the 19th-century polder landscapes and the 20th-century Vinex architecture. It lies within close proximity of Schiphol, belongs to the Dutch Water Defence Lines and has UNESCO World Heritage status. Since 1963 the fort has been stripped of its military purpose and since 2005 it has an artistic one.
Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen is supported by the municipality of Haarlemmermeer and the Mondriaan Fund. With thanks to Staatsbosbeheer and Recreatieschap Noord-Holland.