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Monumental battle for the Spanish Toreken

NIEL – The Spanish Toreken is called the building in the Flemish vernacular. It is the only fort from the Eighty years ‘ War, is that Belgium has been preserved. But a monument is not. That should change soon.

Of the Spanish Toreken is not much more than an overgrown ruin.

The Flemish Niel, 10 kilometres south of Antwerp, was once strategic. At the highest point was in the 16th century, an already existing castle to fort strengthened, a cabin official: square with everywhere loopholes. “From here, there was a clear view across the Rupel”, says Harry Van Royen. On both sides of the river were so-called ramps built earthen ramparts with reinforcements from the Spanish Toreken well in the holes could be held. Important, because that place was the river doorwaadbaar. It was part of a Spanish network of fortifications along the Scheldt and the Rupel, a tributary.

The building is dilapidated. At the beginning of this year bought the church for 87.000 euro, backed by the full city council. A roof is no more as a result of a fire in the late eighties. The result of spike chamber for local children. With the help of the Flemish authorities should budget to restore the building. Therefore, it is first necessary Spanish Toreken, as a monument to recognize. At the end of this year so far, hopes Of Royen, who as a municipal historic preservation with a lot of enthusiasm about the case has compassion.

Actually, it is incredible that the building is still no monument. In the fifties, was inhabited, in the seventies, was tried to a monument of to make, but that ended badly. Since that happened there decades nothing. The building became overgrown, there was a fire, everyone seemed to have forgotten. And that is incomprehensible, Van Royen, since this is the only tangible building in Belgium that is directly to the Eighty years War (1568-1648) is to link to. “For most people living that time period really is more”, thinks Van Royen.

In the fight with the catholic Spaniards lap, after all, the protestantism, the protestant Reformation took root in the north. The fall of Antwerp in 1585 marked the separation between the Northern and Southern Netherlands. Flemish and Brabant traders departed to the north, crucial for the herald of the Golden age. The near Antwerp located Niel played together with other sconces and forts a crucial role in that hectic time. Boats which the City had to supply could be perfectly stopped.

The last time that the cabin is a strategic role, was in 1645 when the Oranges is a futile attempt did to Antwerp to dismiss. “After 1648 was the really last,” says Van Royen. In the Netherlands the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, now arise, the south remained catholic under the reign of the Spaniards.

Ships (alderman, eds.) Tom Caluwaerts (N-VA) hopes that the Spanish Toreken will soon be visited by tourists. What there will be in the restored building, is not yet clear. “We want the population to become involved,” he says. Patience is needed. It will anyway still three years before the restoration can be started. But everyone is positive; Caluwaerts is convinced that everyone will work. “If you have something in your municipality – the only relic from that time, then you have to do something with it.”

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