The fortress is in its original form built between 1811-1813 in command of Napoleon.
Artisans from all over the province of North Holland and hundreds of Spanish prisoners of war worked on the fortress.
When you enter Fortress Kijkduin, you will first pass a large fortification with the aim to defend the fortress, the guard house and the fortress guards house. Behind this defensive wall is the main courtyard with the house and guard house.
After passing the two houses, you walk via the bridge to the roof with the 65 meters longreduit.
The reduit was the place where all the soldiers resided. Via the hall you can go down withthe stairs or the elevator to the vaults of the fortress where the museum and North Sea aquarium are located.
The reduit consists of eight vaults; the first two are being used by the aquarium and the other six by the museum. In the museum of the fortress you can learn all about the history of this fortress and the other fortresses of Den Helder. In the first vault you will be informed about the early days of Fortress Kijkduin; the landing of the English and the Russian soldiers in North Holland in 1799, the visit of Napoleon Bonaparte to Den Helderand the coastal lighting on the dune of Kijkduin (not to be confused with Kijkduin atScheveningen). These are just a few examples of what you can expect at FortressKijkduin. The criminal division is in one of the vaults. You can also visit the gunpowder room, where more than 6000 kilograms of gunpowder was stored.
The North Sea aquarium is next to the ‘’Napoleon Bonaparte’’ beech, where exhibitions, symposia and other events can be held. There is also the possibility to use the catering facilities for visitors of the aquarium and the museum. If there is a new temporary exhibition, of other current issues, it will be listed on the website under the heading ‘’Events’’.
In this vault, you come via a long flight of stairs to the telegraph cabins. These show wellhow the soldiers sent messages to the gun emplacement of Fortress Kijkduin. Eventually you visit the the large cast iron dome, built in 1897, which forms the centre of the fortress.You have a beautiful view across the dunes, the North Sea, the Island Texel and the largest sandbank of Europe ‘’de Razende Bol’’ from here.
Via the last vault of the fort you end up in the 60-metre-long shooting gallery. The soldierswere in a position to shoot the enemy, who ended up in the dry moat, from this shooting gallery. The entire reduit is enclosed by this dry moat. The soldiers' prison was also in theshooting gallery.
You can see the second gunpowder room of the fortress and the canon square with different kinds of canons dated 1850, from the dry moat. Nearly all of the canons still work, and one of these canons is often used in weddings that take place in the fortress.
After you have passed the canons square, you end up at the south side of the reduit,where the entrance is of a 70-metre-long underground corridor. If you walk through the corridor (you can also remain above the ground) you end up in the defensive system of the second dry moat, the caponniere. You can see the remainder of the second dry moat and a number of secretions (toilets)here.
When visiting fortress Kijkduin, enthusiastic volunteers are available to give aguided tour through the Fortress.