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The declining Dutch Republic of the eightteenth century was no match for French military might, and was brought into the sphere of influence of Revolutionary France in 1795. On October 16, 1811, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte personally visited a place which he considered to be of major strategic importance in his struggle against the English: the Texel Roads. If the English overtook the Marsdiep, the entire Zuiderzee would be theirs.

To prevent this, the Emperor expanded Fort de Schans and commissioned the construction of two supporting forts: the Redoute and the Lunette.  He had large forts built on the other side of the Marsdiep as well, in Huisduinen and Den Helder. It didn’t help. Four years later, the French troops were finally defeated by an alliance of British, Dutch and Prussian forces. Nowhere near the Zuiderzee, but at Waterloo, south of Brussels.

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