Ancient Maastricht city wall and Roundel “Five heads” (16th century)
In March 2019 the ancient city wall (from 1500) next to the Roundel “Five Heads” collapsed. We follow the information from the city council about the restoration work, because the André Rieu fans gather at the picnic spot in the city park overlooking this wall.
Limburger, Sept. 26, 2023. By Annelies Hendrikx. Translated by Ineke, edited by Diana D. Le. Restoration of collapsed rampart wall in Maastricht finally in sight: pond is being drained to temporarily store numbered stones Four and a half years after the collapse (March 2019), restoration of the embankment wall in the Maastricht City Park is finally in sight. Roundel “De Vijf Koppen” (the Five Heads) is also included. Alderman Frans Bastiaens announced this on September 25th, 2023. The preparatory work will start at the beginning of October: this mainly involves the partial excavation of the earth wall. This is necessary to remove the pressure that the ground exerts on the embankment wall, and to make both wall and roundel stable again. In addition, the 16th-century rampart of the fortress wall is made visible, so that people can soon walk along the restored wall and the loopholes. Fish and turtles At the same time, the construction site is being redesigned and enlarged. It is necessary to drain the pond so that the natural stone blocks of the outer shell of the rampart wall and the roundel can be temporarily stored here. Each stone is numbered there and after the winter the wall and roundel are rebuilt. “It will look exactly the same as before the collapse,” Bastiaens promises. The pond will remain empty until the entire restoration is completed, expected at the end of 2024. "The fish and turtles from the pond will find another home," says coordinator Rob Smeets. “The fishing club catches the fish and puts them in the Meuse; the turtles go to the turtle sanctuary.” The actual restoration of the roundel and wall will start in early 2024. The municipality is still in discussions with the Welfare and Monuments Committee (WMC), the Cultural Heritage Agency (RCE), and fortress partners about the final restoration plan for the roundel De Vijf Koppen. Together The tender has been awarded to the construction consortium Koninklijke Woudenberg-Laudy. “The decision was made to tender the restoration of the rampart wall and the roundel together and to ensure that the implementation is connected as efficiently as possible,” says project leader Ron Werné. If agreement is reached on the cost price, that combination will also be implemented. There is no clarity yet about the total costs, Bastiaens said. Six million euros have been budgeted for this, but there is a good chance that the job will be more expensive. The province contributes 400,000 euros. Information To mark the start of the preparatory work, new construction fence cloths have recently been installed. Passers-by can read information about the history of the fortifications, the investigations that have taken place, and the finds that have been made. Smeets and Werné: “So that people can see that we really haven't been sitting still.”
A picture, made during the fan picnic of July 2023.
L1, April 19, 2024. Translation: Ineke/Diana D. Le. Update about the progress to restore the ancient citywall and roundel Vijf heads. (collapsed in 2019). Tunnel discovered in the roundel in Maastricht A special discovery next to the collapsed part of the city wall in Maastricht. An old tunnel was discovered during the construction process in the roundel ("The five heads"), the round defense structure. "While peeling the outer wall of the roundel, we came across a corridor," says Ron Werné, structural engineer at the municipality of Maastricht. "We dug it out slowly, because there was all pulverized marl in it." Special surprise After excavating, it appears that the passage leads almost to the inside of the roundel. "A special surprise," says Jos Notermans, who is affiliated with the Menno van Coehoorn Foundation, a foundation that is committed to military heritage. On the inside of the wall, the tunnel, several meters long, branches off to two sides, both of which end in a somewhat larger space. The tunnel shows similarities with plans for fortifications by the 17th-century French architect Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban. They could be mines, which were constructed to blow up a fortification, to prevent the enemy from taking over the fortification. It is not yet clear whether that was the actual purpose of the tunnel. Practice tunnel Notermans therefore has a number of historical theories. "It may be that someone used to think: that roundel is terribly outdated, we don't need it anymore, let's blow it up." But there are no historical indications for this, he also acknowledges. More obvious is that this would be a practice mine tunnel. Training for miners "Maastricht had miners in the 18th and 19th centuries who practiced underground warfare," says Notermans. Miners were soldiers who dug tunnels under fortress walls and ramparts. At the end of the corridor, they made a mining room filled with gunpowder. "There was a training course for miners here at the time. It could be that those miners were given the assignment at a good time: build a mine tunnel like Vauban drew those towers, and show what you can do." There are historical indications for this theory. "It contains a number of inscriptions and they are dated by experts from the second half of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century. That corresponds to the time when there was training for miners here," says Notermans. Visit It is not yet known whether and how the tunnel will be visible after the restoration of the city wall and the roundel. On Saturday, April 20, 2024, the roundel will be open to the public during the "defense heritage weekend". Note by Ineke: André Rieu fans who join the Saturday fan picnics in Maastricht in July, will see the progress!!
Photo credits: L1.
Previous Items Previous Items
JSO members JSO members