Fort bij Vijfhuizen (Fortress at the village of Vijfhuizen) is a cultural heritage site repurposed as a centre for contemporary art. The fortress dating from 1897 is part of the Stelling van Amsterdam, a historic defense line around the Dutch capitol, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unique character. The village Vijfhuizen is situated in a rural area right inbetween the cities of Amsterdam and Haarlem.
After a thorough restauration between 2003-2006, the fortress harbours exhibition rooms, studios and a residency for professional artists, as well as a restaurant with meeting rooms. As managing director, Holger Nickisch was responsible for both daily general management of the site and for the artistic programming of the Kunstfort art foundation housed in the fortress.
Under Nickisch’ management, the organisation expanded its operation and gained a much greater public significance. The strategies Nickisch´developed together with his team effectively promoted the historical, cultural, ecological and touristic value of the site. By 2015, Fort bij Vijfhuizen welcomed over 26.000 visitors/year to see a number of memorable contemporary art exhibitions, minor exhibitions and a (art) events, including an anual open air cinema in late summer. The expanded force of over 50 volunteers and paid employees run the venue, realising a turnover of between 500.000-600.000 euros.
Holger is the enthusiastic director of Fort bij Vijfhuizen, who has many ideas to improve the visibility and the experience of the UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘The Defence Line of Amsterdam’’, of which the Fort bij Vijfhuizen is a part.
- Nanette van Goor (2014), program manager of The Defense Line of Amsterdam. www.stellingvanamsterdam.nl