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.
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). The Österreichische Gesellschaft für Festungsforschung (ÖGF, Austria) is observer.
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). In 2015 it was in Antwerp (Fort V) (Belgium), in 2016 in Toulon (France) and the most recent one in Jülich (Germany) in 207.
The 2018 General Assembly may convene in Fort Bard in the Aosta Valley, Savoie, Italy, October 12th.
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
President: mr. Andreas Kupka
Vice-President: mr. Marc Gayda
Treasurer: Maj Gen. (ret.) Evert Westerhuis
Secretary-general: Maj Gen. (ret.) Kees Neisingh
Member: mr Dave Bassett
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
on the period October 1st, 2016 to October 1st, 2017
On October 14th, 2016 the IFC held its 26th General Assembly in Toulon (France). All member organisations were present or were represented. The Association Vauban hosted the conference. On the previous night (13th October, 2016), M. Alain Monferrand, President of the Association Vauban, addressed the IFC-delegates in Toulon and handed out a word of welcome that can be classified as: ‘Food for thought’.
The day started with a Roadstead tour of the Arsenal, naval dockyard, Royal Tower,
Fort Lamalgue, ending in the Maritime museum. The next day a visit was made to
Mont Faron, Fort Saint Antoine, Tour Hubac, Tour Beaumont, Pas de Leydet and
Fort Croix Faron. The participants were very grateful for the most interesting tours and in particular the printed information, provided by Bernard Cross.
The Executive Board of the IFC consists of:
Mrs Andrea Theissen, DGF, Germany, President IFC
Mr Luc Fellay, Association Saint-Maurice d’Etudes Militaires (ASMEM), Vice-President IFC
Mr Kees Neisingh, Secretary-General IFC
Mr Evert Westerhuis, Treasurer IFC
Mr David Bassett, member
The Executive Board convened in Festung Spandau (Germany) in June 2017.
Amongst many other items, the Executive Board discussed the road ahead for the Multilingual Fortifications Dictionary.
The Board discussed the value of the IFC for the near future (“What are we doing, how are we doing is, what is the value of the IFC, look at it in a positive way, what does IFC bring to fortifications, etc.”).
Also on the agenda was the Project Atlantikwall Europe to be co-funded by EU’s Creative Europe programme. Partners from: N, DK, GE, NL, BE, F, UK.
At the University of Antwerp two scholars (Toplina Puttemans and Wendy Berger) defended a thesis on the same matter: “Atlantikwall, a research of re-use, accessibility and other ways to make the Atlantikwall ‘readable’ as an integral military line.” This study covers the whole of the Atlantikwall from Northern-Norway to the French-Spanish border, including the Channel islands.
Other items on which information was exchanged are:
- The Open Bunkerday (Saturday of June, next to D-Day) was first organised in the Netherlands n 2016. Belgium joined in 2017. Next time, Denmark will also take part. Other countries are invited to join. It is not limited to the Atlantikwall, but to all ‘bunkers’ i.e. fortifications of the 20th Century.
- The German Tag der Forts, held on June 4th, 2017.
- Open Monuments day/ Open heritage day. September every year.
Multilingual Fortification Dictionary
Mr Maurice Lovisa (ASMEM) and Mrs Marie Pierdait Fillie have taken over the files from Mr Carlos Scheltema. The bastion-period is completed, so focus could 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.
Mr Lovisa, after reviewing the files that he received from Mr Scheltema, did not get a good insight in the actual status of the MFD Working Group, seeing that no activities over the last years appear from the files. Also some preliminary issues are put on the table of the general assembly. The meeting engaged in a lively discussion on those and some other items. Mr. Jeroen van der Werf will take the lead.
IFC/CDSG Fortification Calendar
The assembly expresses its appreciation of the “IFC/CDSG Forttours Calendar”, and the Assembly thanks the present Terry McGovern for his work. The calendar is frequently renewed by Mr McGovern and is put on the website by the secretariat. Mr McGovern requests all IFC-members to send him information on activities/excursions, etc.
The data can be found on this website under Calendar.
President reports on the successful AT Fort project, aimed at the re-use of old military buildings, such as fortifications. After the conclusion in 2014 there is now an initiative by the City of ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Bois-le-Duc) in the Netherlands, inviting the former AT Fort participants as well as other bodies to a meeting end of October, 2016 in that city. The aim is to create a new organisation that will be able to get European money. The City of ‘s- Hertogenbosch will financially support and launch this, as well as opening the secretariat. The IFC, Réseau Vauban (12 French Vauban cities) and Menno van Coehoorn have been invited too. Menno van Coehoorn already accepted the invitation.
The Russian ‘History of Fortification Study Centre’, headed by Dr. Konstantin Nossov has been in contact with Terry McGovern (CDSG) and will be invited as an observer to the next General Assembly.
Letter of support Dutch Waterlines
The Netherlands wish to add the New Holland Waterline to the Stelling van Amsterdam on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The IFC strongly supports this.
FINANCIAL REPORT IFC 2016-2017
Realization 2016-2017 In (in €) Out (in €) Estimated
Balance surplus 30-9-2016 1.144,77
Contributions 1.331,-- ** 1.331,--
Costs of secretariat and banking 269,78 200,--
Hosting site (1-10-2016 - 30-9-2017) 609,84 609,84
Provision 3 (of 5) replacement website in 2019? 500,-- 500,- Not forseen ---- 20,20
Balance surplus 30-9-2017 (after **) (incl. Prov. 1 to 3) 1546,15
Costs of secretariat (incl. small costs/banking) 200,--
Hosting site (incl. MFD)(1-10-2017 – 30-9-2018) 610,--
Provision 4 (of 5) replacement website (in 2 years) 500,--
Not foreseen 21,--
Total funding needed 1.331,--
Proposal 2017-2018 (in Euro)
organisation number of members share
Belgium, Simon Stevin VVC 452 150,--
Croatia, NUF 20 35,-- (min.)
Czech Republic, CAMH 151 50,--
France, Association Vauban 335 112,--
Germany, DGF 223 74,--
Luxemburg, FFGL 423 141,--
Netherlands, MvC 1011 337,--
Switzerland, ASMEM 307 102,--
United Kingdom, FSG 600 200,--
USA, CDSG 390 130,--
Austria, ÖGF(observer) ??? none
Total 4012 Total 1.331,--