Fort Bourtange was built in the 16th century, during the age of gunpowder when the cannon came to dominate the battlefield. Roughly resembling the shape of a star, it was built as a fortification on the Bourtange passage, which was the main road leading to Germany. Its shape would easily allow to defend against horizontal artillery fire.
In 1851 the fort town of Bourtange was converted into a village. Over 100 years later in 1960, the local government decided to restore the old Fort to its 1740-1750 appearance and made into a historical museum.