History and museums
Fort Amsterdam is a historic fort on the island of Saint Martin, near the Sint Maarten town of Philipsburg.
The fort was built by the Dutch in 1631. Located near Great Bay and Little Bay, it was soon captured by the Spanish who occupied it as a military post until 1648. In that year the partition agreement was signed by the Dutch Republic and France. The island, and therefore the Fort, changed hands many times between the Dutch Republic, England and France.
Today, the fort is small, and in a decaying state of repair, but still worth visiting. There are several rusting 19th century cannon in place, and several informational signs.
The fort is on a peninsula about 2.5 km long and is a registered historical site, consisting of several ruins. There is a breeding colony of brown pelicans, of up to 60 nests, on the west side of the point, on a slope below the fort. The 278 ha site has been identified as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International. The vegetation is characterised by thorny scrubland of Acacia macracantha and A. tortuosa, reaching over 2 m in height.