Once, guns were positioned here. Now, there are benches and picnic tables. Today, Kastrup Fort – or Kastrup Battery, as it was once called – is a place for leisure and relaxation. But it once had a grim purpose.
Copenhagen had been bombarded by the British in 1807. After Denmark lost the second Schleswig War in 1864, it faced a serious security problem. Denmark was now a small, vulnerable country. It was vital to fortify Copenhagen, both on land and at sea, so the capital could at least be defended until help could arrive from friendly nations.
Kastrup Fort is a testament to that time. It was built in 1886–1887 to defend from attack by sea from the south. During the First World War, 300 soldiers were stationed here in readiness for war.
The fortification was abandoned in 1920. When Amager Beach opened for the citizens of Copenhagen in 1933, Kastrup Fort and its surrounding green spaces were used as a public park. Before it was taken over by the Germans during the Second World War, the park had an open-air theatre and several places to drink.
In some places, there are bullet holes in the wall, and legend has it that deserters were shot here – but sceptics point out that this is an impractical place to execute people, there being no way for blood to drain away.
Nowadays, the Fort is more idyllic. The stairs and hills pose a challenge for runners, there’s a playground for kids and, for those who have had enough of Amager Beach, the fort is a great place to shelter from the wind and sand and noise.
The fort is only open during the day; its doors close as the evening draws in.
Photo: Stine Trier Norden