Rue du Camp, 67190 Dinsheim-sur-Bruche.
All year Sat, Sun, Hol 13-15, tour 14.
School Holidays, JUL to 03-SEP daily 10-17.
|Casemate Route des Fortifications Européenes
|Incandescent Electric Light System
|D=2.5 h. 12-page paper guide available.
|Feste Kaiser Wilhelm II, Rue du Camp, 67190 Dinsheim-sur-Bruche, Tel: +33-608-84-17-42. E-mail:
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|fort built using masonry.
|eastern fort built in masonry.
|western fort built of concrete, eastern fort reinforced and covered in concrete.
|restored by a joint German–French non-profit association.
|opened to the public as a museum.
Feste Kaiser Wilhelm II is also known as Fort de Mutzig, because it is actually a German fort in the borders of France. The quarrels between France and German have a long history, they originate from the division of the Carolingian empire. The Alsace was annexed by the French for the first time 1643. After the French revolution nationalism rose. But the political systems of Germany and France developed in different directions. And the areas at the border were always disputed, and frequently changed its owner with another war. The Alsace, however, is German speaking and actually belongs culturally to Germany. The Saarland, for example, was inbetween after World War II, and there was a referendum in the 1950s where the people decided they would prefer to belong to Germany, despite the lost war. Its unclear how the inhabitants of the Alsace would have decided, but they were never asked.
So we decided to use the German name for this entry, because the fort was built by Germany while this area was German and the fort was originally named this way. Its construction was one step in the militarization spiral which led to two World Wars. However, it was not part of the Maginot Line, although it was in the same region. It seems the concept of the new type of fort was adopted, while the first prototype was avoided.
The first works in 1872 were built with traditional technology using masonry. When the eastern fort was built in 1893, it was still masonry. But only two years later, in 1895, the western fort was built of concrete from the beginning, while the eastern fort was reinforced and covered in concrete. It was actually the very first fortification of the German empire with a completely new architecture designed to withstand new artiller ammunition. The basic principle was, all infrastructure including the turrets underground in bunkers, even the baracks were underground. Without windows, some kind of ventilation was necessary which in turn made electricity to power all the systems necessary. So this was actually the first German fort with its own electricity generating plant. This allowed the installation of a radio link to Strasbourg. The infantry shelters and underground living quarters had central heating, drinking water and sewage, toilets, and a canteen. It was for a short time the most modern military installation in the world.
However, during World War I it was irrelevant because the front was actually in France. During World War II, it was also irrelevant because the Maginot Line was avoided by the Germans. And after the armistice, the fort was decommissioned. It was more or less meaningless. But as it never saw substantial military action, it is today one of the best preserved pre-World War I sites in existence.
After World War II the fortress was used by the French Army for exercises for some years. Since 1984 it has been restored by a joint German–French non-profit association, and in 1995 opened to the public as a museum. The site is open all year, daily during School Holidays and on weekends the rest of the year. There are guided tours, and it is possible to visit the site self-guided. There are educational signs in French and 12-page paper handouts in German and English. The last entry is two hours before closure.