At the 28th General Assembly of the International Fortress Council (IFC), welcomed on October 12th, 2018 in Forte di Bard (Aosta, Italy) a great number of fortress-organisations from Italy presented themselves. The IFC is open for an Italian representation and hopes that at next year’s assembly there will be a delegation from Italy.


Austria and Malta

At the 2019 General Assembly, to be held on October 11th, 2019 (place not yet known), the Österreichische Gesellschaft für Festungsforschung (OeGF) (Austrian Society for Fortification Research) and the Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna  (Malta Heritage Trust) will be welcomed as new members.






Dott.ssa Maria Cristina Ronc, Direttore Associazione Forte di Bard and Andrea Kupka, President of the International Fortress Council during the meeting with Italian fortress-organisations














General Assembly in Forte dit Bard







Greece and Poland



Greek and Polish fortification experts were present and may lead to membership of IFC for those countries.




Visit to the Forte di Bard, Opera Ferdinando















Andreas Kupka, President of IFC






Els Scheltema-Vriesendorp passed away August 19th, 2018. She was well known as Secretary of the Stichting Menno van Coehoorn and as the spouse of Carlos Scheltema, the long-time Secretary-General of the IFC. Els was present at most of the IFC's General Assemblies over the years and played a great rol in IFC.




New: Wirtartna from Malta will be invited to attend. 

Fondazzjoni Wirt Artnathe Malta Heritage Trust,  is a voluntary non-governmental organisation active in the field of heritage preservation. One of its principal objectives is to create awareness to encourage the better understanding and preservation of the cultural heritage of the Maltese islands. For this reason, over the years, FWA undertook the rehabilitation and restoration of various cultural properties.


New: The Association Fort de Bard hence has the intention to join the objectives of the International Fortress Council, which unites organisations involved in the study and conservation of fortifications, in order to encourage the preservation of historical fortress, defensive works and of military architecture, reaching from the XVIth to the XXth century, by promoting knowledge and information.

It thus will be the Fort de Bard’s intention, together with the International Fortress Council to present itself at the General assembly aS the Italian representative and to attract interest for Italy in the following areas:

- Defensive systems, built at Europe largest alpine borders, from entrenched fortresses to armoured batteries (approximately 1.200 kilometres)

- Defensive systems, with very different historical elements, found along 7.000 kilometres coastline (from ant-piracy defence to harbour defence)

- fortified citadels


The next general Assembly of the International Fortress Council will be held in Fort de Bard (Italy). Nearest airport is Torino, also served by TGV (high speed train).


IFC-Members are welcome on Thursday, October 11th, 2018.


Friday Presentation on the Project Fort de Bard, followed by a visit of

- the Museum of the Alps (Musée des Alpes) in the Ouvrage Charles-Albert; and

- the Museum of Fortificatioans and Borders (Musée des Fortifications et des Frontières) in the Ouvrage Ferdinand Inférieur and Supérieur.

After lunch the assembly will be held.



Departure by car from Fort de Bard. Visit of the Château Vallaise d’Arnad, guided by Mr. Roberto Domaine, Superintendant for Cultural Activities in de autonomous Region Aosta Valley .





Europe is a patchwork of cultural diversity, and we are connecting the dots: together, all over Europe, we are celebrating the first European Fortress Day. This year this event coincides with the European Heritage Days, organised in each country on a day in September. On this page you find the partners of European Fortress Day and their activities. Some are just a car or train ride away. European Fortress Day is an initiative of the European Federation of Fortified Sites and Defence Lines (EFFORTS) and Stichting Liniebreed Ondernemen (SLO). 


The International Fortress Council is cooperating with EFFORTS. Somne IFC-members also joined Efforts, like Simon Stevin (Flandres) and Menno van Coehoorn (Netherlands).




The EFFORTS mission is to share expertise, promote cooperation and emphasize the significance of fortified heritage as a continuing connection to our common European history and as a condition for social, economic and spatial development. See:



The Frënn vun der Festungsgeschicht Lëtzebuerg a.s.b.l. (FFGL) have appointed a new representative, Mr Patrick Schaul. IFC thanks the former representative, Romain Schauss, for his cooperation.



The 27th General Assembly of the International Fortress Council was held in Jülich (Germany) on October 20th, 2017.


President Andrea Theissen (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Festungsforschung (DGF), Germany) and Vice-President Luc Fellay (Association Saint-Maurice d’Etudes Militaires (ASMEM), Switzerland) were both at the end of their three years terms.

The General Assembly unanimously appointed Andreas Kupka (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Festungsforschung (DGF), Germany) President of the International Fortress Council and Marc Gayda (Association Vauban, France)
Vice-President of the International Fortress Council.



President IFC, Andrea Theissen, about to handover the ‘Presidents hammer’ to Andreas Kupka.

From left to right:

Luc Fellay, Andrea Theissen, Marc Gayda, ANDREAS Kupka, Luc Olyslager (Simon Stevin, Belgium).


The new Forttours Calendar for 2018 and 2019 is ready (See Tab Calendar).

The next General Assembly will probably be held in Fort Bard (Aosta Valley, Italy). The date is et for October 12th.


By means of this letter the International Fortress Council (IFC) would like to express its support to the nomination of the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie, (Dutch Waterline) as an extension of the existing UNESCO World Heritage: Stelling van Amsterdam.

The International Fortress Council (IFC) was founded in 1989 by the following organisations interested in the study of fortifications: Simon Stevin VVC (Belgium; VVC stands for Vlaams Vestingbouwkundig Centrum or Flemish Fortress Centre); Deutsche Gesellschaft für Festungsforschung (Germany); Fortress Study Group (U.K.), and the initiator, the Stichting Menno van Coehoorn (The Netherlands). Later similar organisations joined the IFC: Association Vauban (France); Nacionalna Udrug za Fortifikacije (Croatia), Czech Association for Military History (Czech Republic), Frënn vun der Festungsgeschicht Lëtzebuerg (Luxemburg), Association Saint-Maurice d’Etudes Militaires (Switzerland); Coast Defence Study Group (USA).

The IFC unites these organisations from various countries engaged in the protection and study of their national fortified heritage as well as spreading the knowledge about it. Within the IFC these various organisations exchange their knowledge and experiences in that field. If needed they give mutual support.

The Dutch Waterline is an important testimony of the Dutch capacity for water management. The art of taming the water flooding their land, taught them to use it as a means of defence. Thus turning a hostile force of nature into an ally in times of war. Although water has been used as a means of defence in other countries as well, the scale and precision with which the Dutch did it, is unique.

The extension of the existing World Heritage Stelling van Amsterdam with the Dutch Waterline completes the story of the Dutch national defence and the use of water in it. In our opinion it will be an essential reinforcement.


On behalf of all members of the IFC.

Yours sincerely,


Andrea Theissen,

IFC president.



The General assembly of the International Fortress Council accepted the Austrian Society for Fortification Research, the Österreichische Gesellschaft für Festungsforschung, as its newest member-organisation.

The Austrian Society for Fortification Research (OeGF) intends to create a coherent scientific documentation about the construction of fortifications in the Habsburg monarchy. Additionally conservation and utilisation projects in this area are supported on a professional level.



The General Assembly of the International Fortress Council was held on Friday October 14th , 2016 in Toulon





                                                    Musée de la Marine Nationale (Toulon)









Mr. Alain Monferrand, President of the Association Vauban presents a coin, commemorating Vauban's tricentenaire, to Mrs. Andrea Theissen, President of the International Fortress Council.


























The 2015 general Assembly of the International Fortress Council was hosted by Simon Stevin (Belgium) at

Fort V in Bredene (Antwerp) on Friday October 16th, 2015


l.t.r: Jeroen van der Werf, Kees Neisingh (Secretary-general), Mrs Andrea Theissen (President IFC), Luc fellay (Vide-President IFC) and David Basett

Fort Haasdonk, from left to right Mr. Evert Westerhuis (treasurer), Mr. Luc Olyslager (Simon Stevin), Mr. Kees Neisingh (secretary-general)




At its 18th General Assembly, ICOMOS (INternational Council on Monuments and Sites), meeting in Florence, Italy, in November 2014 decided to confger Honorary Membership to Carlos Scheltema for 'his contribution to the life of the organisation and his distinguished service in the field of conservation, restoration and enhancement of historical monuments, sites and groups of buildings'.

IFC congratulates its co-founder and prominent member with this prestigious sward.



The  General Assembly of the International Fortress Council was held in Portsmouth (UK) on the 17th October, 2014.


Mrs Andrea Theissen was appointed by the General Assembly President of the IFC, Mr Luc Fellay was appointed Vice-President.





The General Assembly of the International Fortress Council (IFC) appointed at its meeting in Utrecht (NL) on October 18th, 2013 Mr Dave Bassett (UK), representative of the Fortress Study Group, as Member of the Executive Board of the IFC.