About us

Citadel of Juelich

Aims of the International Fortress Council

The IFC, and its members aim exclusively towards encouraging the maintenance of historic forts, defensive works and military architecture, and the furtherance of knowledge and information thereof. It maintains and furthers contacts between its members, the exchange of their knowledge and experience, and information on activities of its members.

The purpose of the association can be fostered in a variety of ways, but the IFC does not aim at developing the same activities as its members, such as the organization of excursions, journeys, congresses, the edition of a magazine etc.


Membership of the IFC is open to organizations only. Full members of the IFC are active in the whole state in which they are established (or at least representing it), they are open to anyone, and they are not public authorities nor totally dependent on public authorities. Other non-voting membership is open to organizations that are public authority or are totally dependent on public authorities. Organizations and individuals can be invited as observer.

Castle of Chillion (CH)


The International Fortress Council (IFC) was founded at The Hague (the Netherlands) in 1989 by the following organizations interested in the study of fortifications: Simon Stevin VVC (Belgium; VVC stands for Vlaams Vestingbouwkundig Centrum or Flemish Fortress Centre); Deutsche Gesellschaft für Festungsforschung (DGF, Germany); Fortress Study Group (FSG, U.K.), and the initiator, the Stichting Menno van Coehoorn (The Netherlands; Stichting means Foundation).

Later similar organizations joined the IFC: Association Vauban (France); Nacionalna Udrug za Fortifikacije (NUF, Croatia), Czech Association for Military History (CAMH, Czech Republic), Frënn vun der Festungsgeschicht Lëtzebuerg (FFGL, Luxemburg), Association Saint-Maurice d’Etudes Militaires (ASMEM, Switzerland); Coast Defence Study Group (CDSG, USA).


See statutes.

Citadel of Juelich model

The International Fortress Council is a full volunteer organization, which means that no salaries or allowances are granted (see also the financial reports from the Treasurer).



The contacts between the members are sustained by the General Assembly of the delegates once a year, each time in another European town where a member has its seat, and via the secretariat. In 2009 the meeting was in Visegrad Castle of Prague, in 2010 at Saint-Maurice in Switzerland, and in 2011 in the Castle City of Karlovac (Croatia). In 2012 the city of Luxembourg was hosting the meeting. In 2013 the IFC convened in Utrecht (Netherlands). The 2014 meeting was in Portsmouth (UK).

The quarterly calendar “Forttours”, edited in cooperation with the CDSG.

The preparation of a Multilingual Fortification Dictionary (MFD) based on a collection of drawings and pictures.

The Executive Board of the IFC

Chairman: mrs. Andrea Theissen

Vice-chairman: Lt Gen. (ret.) Luc Fellay

Treasurer: Maj Gen. (ret.) Evert Westerhuis

Secretary-general: Maj Gen. (ret.) Kees Neisingh

Member: mr Dave Bassett

10 Inch Battery Fort Casey Washington State US




on the period October 1st, 2015 to October 1st, 2016


General Assembly

On October 16th, 2015 the IFC held its 25th General Assembly in Edegem (Belgium). All member organisations were present or were represented. The Simon Stevin Vlaams Vestingbouwkundig Centrum (Simon Stevin VVC) from Belgium hosted the conference. The day started with an exclusive visit to the normally closed Fort Haasdonk, part of the outer fortification belt of Antwerp. Fort Haasdonk is the only structure that is conserved mainly in its authentic form. The IFC convened, and had its meeting in Fort 5 at Edegem, a fort that was also visited afterwards. The next day a visit was made to a World War II Command Post in Park Den Brandt in Antwerp.


Ongoing discussions

The President of IFC, Mrs Andrea Theissen presided the General Assembly. Much time was spent on extensive discussions on the following items:

-           An innovative change in the approach of the public is needed: fast and intensive experiences, like a time lap in history or something in nature. This can result in renewed use of fortresses, even in the form of virtual reality (Harry Potter-style).

-           Re-use of fortresses is important not only for the preservation but also for appreciation by the public; this will ease public funding.

-           What is the quality and reliability of the websites of the members and of the general information available to the public via Google/Wikipedia?

-           How can we be present in the New Media World? What exposure is necessary? 

-           Some members are more focused on the study of fortresses, while other members are initiating activities for the general public.

-           Facebook is a good, effective and efficient help for these activities.

The assembly, not reaching conclusion on these issues, decided to put them on the agenda for the next meeting.


Multilingual Fortification Dictionary

Mr Maurice Lovisa (ASMEM) and Mrs Marie Pierdait Fillie (Association Vauban) form the new management team of the Multilingual Fortification Dictionary. Mr Carlos Scheltema will remain (advising) member of the working group. Mr Jeroen van der Werf  (Menno van Coehoorn) will assist the management team. The bastion-period is completed, so focus can now be put on the medieval time and the period after the bastions. An expert from Serbia has offered to add the Serbian language, putting the number of languages at 10.


IFC/CDSG Fortification Calendar

Mr. Terry McGovern, Coast Defence Study Group sent out the Quarterly IFC/CDSG Fortification Calendar in Excel, PDF and Word formats. It has been a matter of continuing concern for him and for the IFC members that contribute their programs to keep this quarterly complete and up-to-date.

The data can be found on IFC’s website (www.internationalfortresscouncil.org under Calendar).


Executive Board

The Executive Board of the IFC consists of:

Mrs Andrea Theissen, DGF, Germany, chairman IFC

Mr Luc Fellay, Association Saint-Maurice d’Etudes Militaires (ASMEM), vice-chairman IFC

Mr Kees Neisingh, Secretary-General IFC

Mr David Bassett, Fortress Study Group

The Executive Board convened in Festung Spandau (Germany) in June 2016. Amongst many other items, the Executive Board discussed the road ahead for the MLFD. Interesting topics: adding new languages and adding new time periods, eventually include the ‘concrete’ and ‘reinforced concrete century’.


AtFort -> New European Military heritage Network

The At Fort programme was closed in 2014. But now, the former participants have agreed to convene in the near future and plan a new programme.



Although the IFC-members are in many ways involved in ICOMOS/ICOFORT matters, the IFC has not been active in this field. The same goes for Europa Nostra.



Kees Neisingh,

Secretary-General IFC

                         FINANCIAL REPORT IFC 2013-2014


Realization 2015-2016                             In  (in €)            Out (in €)                    Estimated


Balance surplus 30-9-2015                            581,24

Contributions                                              1.331,-- **                                           1.331,--                        

Costs of secretariat  and banking                   157,63                                                   200,--

Hosting site (1-10-2015 - 30-9-2016)                                        609,84                     610,--

Provision 2 (of 5) replacement website in 2019?                          500,--                        500,--

Not forseen                                                                                  ----                             20,20 

Balance surplus 30-9-2016 (after **) (incl. Prov. 1 and 2)     1.144,77


Budget-estimate 2016-20167                        

Costs of secretariat (incl. small costs/banking)              200,--                            

Hosting site (incl. MFD)(1-10-2016 – 30-9-2017)        609,84

Provision 3 (of 5) replacement website (in 3 years)      500,--

Not foreseen                                                                 20,20                       

Total funding needed                                                   1.331,--                            


Your treasurer,




Realization 2013-2014                             In  (in €)            Out (in €)                    Estimated


Balance deficit 30-9-2013                                      - 5,56

Contributions                                                     1.300 **                                               1.300,--

Costs of website (improvements)                                                -----                                400,-                          

Costs of secretariat                                                                     193,45                         )                                                                                                                                           

Costs of banking                                                                             4,71                         )    200,--

Chamber of commerce                                                              (paid by MvC)              ) Hosting site (1-10-2013 - 30-9-2014)                                         609,84                            600,--

Not forseen                                                                                   -----                                94,44 

Balance surplus 30-9-2014 (after **)                                  289,47


** SSV and NUF did not yet pay there contributions 2012-2013 + 2013-2014.

 AV did not yet pay 2013-2014 (total € 258,-)



Budget-estimate 2014-2015               with CDSG                 

Costs of secretariat (incl. small costs)                            200,--                             

Hosting site (incl. MFD)(1-10-2014 – 30-9-2015)        610,--

Provision replacement website (in 5 years)                    500,--  

Not foreseen                                                                     79,47                            

Surplus 30-9-2014                                         -/-            289,47                                                                       Total funding needed                                                   1.300,--                           



Proposal 2014-2015 (in Euro)          

Belgium, Simon Stevin VVC         3,62 %           45,--             

Croatia, NUF                                  0,44 %           35,-- (min.)    

Czech Republic, CAMH                1,61 %           35,-- (min.) 

France, Association Vauban          7,83 %           98,--              

Germany, DGF                              8,67 %         109,--              

Luxemburg, FFGL                          6    %            75,--              

Netherlands, MvC                        35,5  %          447,--            

Switzerland, ASMEM                     3   %             38,--             

United Kingdom, FSG                 22,83 %          286,--            

USA, CDSG                                 10,5  %          132,--                         

                                       Total     100  %   Total  1.300,--           



Your treasurer,