The Fort of Pondisse dominates the Meuse Valley and the Albert Canal, seven kilometers from the center of Liege. It is part of the “Fortified Position of Liege,” consisting of 12 forts built at the end of the 19th century. All of these forts were constructed under the direction of General Henri-Alexis Brialmont. It was constructed entirely in concrete, an innovative material at the time. Surrounded by a ditch six meters deep and 8 meters wide, the fort is one of the largest forts in Liège. Its role was mainly to support the position of Fort Eben-Emael.
During the First World War, the German army captured the fort on August 13, 1914 after remarkable resistance during a whole week of assault. Following the Armistice of 1918, the Belgian military recovered the fort, which the Germans had considerably improved during the Occupation.
During the inter-war period, the Belgian army rebuilt the fort to reinforce its defense and surveillance capacity. It was during this work that a new fort was dug 22 meters below the old one. During World War II, Fort Pontisse supported Belgian units on the ground and neighboring forts after Fort Eben-Emael was taken. The fort gave way on May 18 1940, weakened by an air attack and lack of ammunition.
After the war, it was converted into an ammunition depot and sold to a scrap metal dealer who was responsible for a lot of damage to the site. The fort remained abandoned from 1993 to 2002. Finally, it was bought by an association that undertook its restoration and opened it to the public by reservation only.
Don’t wait: visit this two-in-one fort and its Secret Itineraries’ tour, which will unveil some well-hidden treasures of the defense.