The architectural designs of the citadel are based on the principles of Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, who was the most important fortress builder of his time. The fortifications of the citadel were completely destroyed during 1919 to 1920 due to the demilitarisation of the Rhineland ordered by the Allied forces following World War I. A few buildings survived this destruction. These are now used as a cultural centre and house the NRW Prussian museum, the school of music and art, the city archives with a paper restoration facility as well as the city museum department of Schill Kasematte. The artist group Z6 is found in a part of the main gate building.
History of the Citadel
The Great Elector Friedrich Wilhelm I. ordered the construction of a citadel to reinforce the fortification of Wesel in 1687. Initially the Quartermaster General Dupuy planned and led the execution of construction work on the Wesel fortification, but this was later assigned to the engineer F.R.Joh. de Corbin in 1689, who then took over this task starting in 1690.
The citadel was to be constructed in the southern part of the city. Corbin developed several solutions for the construction of a citadel with a connection to the city fortification. The result of his plans was a citadel equipped with five bastions and five ravelins. It was connected to the centre of the city's fortification in the east and west through dull bastions. The five citadel bastions received offset flanks.
The main gate
The citadel's main gate was built in 1718. It was reinforced with expansive works on its south and east side -- probably around the middle of the 18th century.
During the period of French occupation from 1805 to 1814, the French actively added to the fortifications of the city as well as the citadel itself. They built a two-story brick cellar-less building in the citadel, which still exists today - the former barrack VIII. The main gate has a representative design. There is a prison cell in the southern part of the two wings, where, among others, the eleven Schill Officers waited for their orders.
The Schill exhibit in the city museum is now located there.