Military Wiki
Zitadelle von Antwerpen 1572.jpg
Detail from the view of Antwerp in Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg, Civitates orbis terrarum (1572)
Type bastion fort
Coordinates Latitude:
Built 1567 (1567)
In use 1881 (1881)
Habsburg Netherlands, Dutch Republic, Spanish Netherlands, Austrian Netherlands, United Belgian States, First French Republic, First French Empire, United Kingdom of the Netherlands, Kingdom of Belgium
Battles/wars Sack of Antwerp (1576), Fall of Antwerp (1585), Siege of Antwerp (1814), Siege of Antwerp (1832)

Antwerp Citadel (Spanish language: Castillo de Amberes , Dutch language: Kasteel van Antwerpen ) was a pentagonal bastion fort built to defend and dominate the city of Antwerp in the early stages of the Dutch Revolt. It has been described as "doubtlesse the most matchlesse piece of modern Fortification in the World"[1] and as "one of the most studied urban installations of the sixteenth century".[2]


The citadel was designed by the Italian engineer Francesco Paciotto and built on the orders of the Duke of Alva. Initial construction was completed in 1572. After the Sack of Antwerp (1576) the citizens partially demolished the fortification, but it was reconstructed after the Fall of Antwerp (1585).

The citadel saw action towards the end of the Napoleonic Wars, when it was defended by diehard Bonapartists. The Siege of Antwerp (1814) continued for a month after Napoleon's abdication.

After the Belgian Revolution of 1830, Dutch forces remained in control of the citadel until the Siege of Antwerp (1832).

Demolition began in 1874 and was completed in 1881.[3] The site became a new neighbourhood of the city, Zuid, in which the most prominent construction was the new building for the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp.

Governors of the citadel

In Spanish the title of the governor of the citadel was Castellano de Amberes ("Castellan of Antwerp").

  • –1576: Sancho d'Avila
  • 1577: Philipe de Croÿ, Duke of Aarschot
  • 1587–1596: Don Cristóbal de Mondragón
  • 1606-1622: Don Íñigo de Borja
  • -1674: Don Pedro Sanpayo.
  • 1674-1678: Don Mateo de Villegas.
  • 1679–1693: Don Francisco Marcos de Velasco
  • 1693-1695: Don Diego Gomez, Marques of Espinosa
  • 1695-1700: Don Pedro alvarez de Vega.
  • 1700-: Don Luis de Borja, Marquess of Caracena.
  • 1830–1832: David Hendrik Chassé
  • Don Fernando de Solís y Vargas de Carvajal, died 1669.
  • Don Geronimo de Cobos, died 1643
  • Don Diego de Heredia y Arambulo ; died 1704
  • Don Antonio de Castro y Tello, died 1659
  • Don Julian Martinez de la Parra

Our Lady of the Citadel

In the Sint-Joriskerk there is still a brotherhood called Our Lady of the Citadel (Dutch language: Onze-Lieve-Vrouw van het Kasteel ).[4]


  1. John Evelyn, The Diary of John Evelyn, ed. Guy de la Bédoyère (Woodbridge, 2004), p. 40.
  2. Martha Pollak, "Paradigmatic Citadels: Antwerp/Turin", in Cities at War in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2010), p. 14.
  3. Piet Lombaerde, Antwerpen versterkt (University Press Antwerp, 2009), pp. 127-133.

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