It does fit.. Sort of..

Graffiti on the artillery observation bunker at Oranjemolen, Vlissingen. (Photo: Bunkerbehoud)

Graffiti on the artillery observation bunker at Oranjemolen, Vlissingen. (Photo: Bunkerbehoud)

The Dutch prize for the best initiative in our field of interested was awarded today to Leo den Dulk. He was the one who brought up the idea to move a complete bunker from the Dutch coast to the Military engineers museum in Vught.

It was a beautiful sunny day at the military engineers museum when Leo received the award from last year’s winner, Ruud Pols and his WN2000 from IJmuiden. With pain in his heart and tears in his eyes he handed over this prestigious recognition.

Leo told about how the operation of moving the complete bunker was arranged with the Dutch military engineers and there were some funny and interesting anecdotes by the engineers too.

The Dutch S3k casemate for machine gun at the Scheveningen boulevard was built in 1939 together with two other bunkers of the same type. During the war the Germans re-used the bunker and added a Vf bunker to it. During construction works last year the bunker reappeared and was openend to the public, with much success. In the end a huge logistic operation was set up to save the bunker from demolition. In a joint operation the 110 ton bunker was cut in pieces and moved to the place where it’s now in Vught. Plans are to completely restore its former camouflage and even the boulevard stairs next to the bunker.

The Gouden Betonmolen is an initiative by the Dutch fortificatieforum to award people or groups who are doing a special thing for fortifications in Holland. It was quickly baptised National Golden Concrete mixer by local media back then.

The first winner of the price was Stichting Bunkerbehoud for the complete renovation of the artillery observation bunker type 143 at the Oranjemolen in Vlissingen

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Ship wharf, hotel and animal hospital. These were just a part of the ideas on the future of the giant Schnellbootbunker in IJmuiden, the Netherlands. It was the present owner of several docks, Hoorne Vastgoed, who asked students to come up with a plan for bunker.

The ship wharf with luxurious hotel idea won, of course. A company judging its own competition, picks the possibly-most-money-raising project. Because everyone always wanted to go to a luxurious hotel in IJmuiden!

According to the owner “the bunker could really bring the ‘Bilbao-effect’ to IJmuiden. That city was an industrial one in decay, but thanks to the particular Guggenheim museum it now attracts people from all over the world”.

I still don’t quite see the similarities between a museum and a hotel but well. Have fun with cutting through the concrete! The French did it before in St-Nazaire, mutulating the U-Boot bunker in the city center.

The winning design. (Illustration: Hoorne Vastgoed)

The winning design. (Illustration: Hoorne Vastgoed)

I’ve visited the War and resistance museum in Rotterdam today. Very nice museum! But the most curious thing I saw was this fantastic model of the M 152 Naval command bunker in Hoek van Holland. It’s a bird house made by the artist Hans Eijkenboom! Sorry for the bad quality phone pictures.

M 152 bird house by Hans Eijkenboom

M 152 bird house by Hans Eijkenboom

M 152 bird house by Hans Eijkenboom

M 152 bird house by Hans Eijkenboom

M 152 bird house by Hans Eijkenboom

M 152 bird house by Hans Eijkenboom

A brick bunker on the Dutch island of Ameland was uncovered this monday. It had been closed since the 1970s.

The Stichting Amelander Musea wants to convert the bunker to a World War 2 museum.

The uncovered trench in front of the bunker. (Photo: Gert Jan Ruygh)

The uncovered trench in front of the bunker. (Photo: Gert Jan Ruygh)

This weekend Staatsbosbeheer started uncovering several bunkers in Widerstandsnest 220H. The foundation WO2GO will preserve a 502 and 504 and start a small museum.

During the digging some very nicely preserved camouflage saw daylight.

Recently uncovered 504 with stunning camouflage. (Photo: Arthur van Beveren)

Recently uncovered 504 with stunning camouflage. (Photo: Arthur van Beveren)

Preservation of bunkers has pros and cons. Sometimes there are moral dillemas. And for me that’s the Landfront of Vlissingen in Holland.

The just uncovered 625 in 2000. (Photo: Lenco van der Weel)

About ten years ago, a first part of the magnificent Landfront Vlissingen was made accessible through a bicycle path. The Bunkerbehoud (bunker preservation) foundation removed loads of earth. For the first time in Holland there was an important cooperation between local governements and bunker enthousiastics which cumulated into the idea of a bunker bicycle route. Although this was of course a great initiative, ten years later the bunkers are used as a hangout place for the youth, sprayed with graffiti and used as a dump.

In the following years the path has expended and there’s now a great bicycle and hiking route along the anti-tank ditch, which leads along several interesting bunkers and shows a Landfront which is unique in the world. But with the accessibility came vandalism with of course the visual form of it being graffiti, maybe the one thing we bunker archaeologists most hate ;).

In the past years the only exposed bunkers which were spared of unwanted visitors were the two 623 (021-153/154) near Valkenisse. For me it raises the question: is it wise to lead another path along two rather clean and original machine gun bunkers? To preservate bunkers you need to get the people’s attention, but isn’t there enough to show already? Eight bunkers in the Landfront, three museum bunkers and the Toorenvliedt park with its 618.

Bunkerbehoud isn’t the owner of any of the Landfront bunkers. It’s only a partner, giving historical advice and doing some small work on the bunkers, i.e. rebuilding the brick escape shaft, placing doors and unearth the bunkers.
The initiative of the bunker route was an idea by local governments and for a big part of touristic value for the area.

I wanted to visit the two 630 before the path is finished because I know, in about a year, the bunkers won’t look the same anymore. I hope I’m wrong but for now I’m glad I’ve made a last photoshoot, before the graffiti.

A new path will lead to this 630 (021-175). (Photo: Arthur van Beveren)

The first 630 (021-173) which was incorporated into the bicycle route ten years ago. (Photo: Arthur van Beveren)

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Some time ago I posted about the demolishing and moving of bunkers in the Landfront of Hoek van Holland in the Netherlands.

Two bunkers (134 and 621) were demolished but the local government decided to spare one 134 and move it a couple of meters. This noble effort failed the first time because the bunker sank a bit during the move. In the beginning of September a new attempt was made, this time with more luck. With a force of 2400 tons, hydraulic jacks try to push the bunker 9 meters towards the canal.
The work isn’t finished yet but it’s looking good. A part of the brick canteen is temporarily spared, so that the German drawings can be preserved.

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Last minute call! This weekend is a special one on Forteiland IJmuiden. Re-enactors will dress up and act like World War Two soldiers again and portray the soldiers who manned the fort and bunkers through the years.

Tonight an excursion on the island, through the fort and bunkers, will lead along these Dutch and German soldiers. See how they live, practise, eat and guard on the fort. Tomorrow, there will be demonstrations all day long and some Germans will man the 644 bunker and its armoured turret. So if you want to see a Sechsschartenturm in action be there. I’ll be there!

Get you tickets via IJmuidense Rondvaart Maatschappij.

644 of Kernwerk IJmuiden. (Photo: Arthur van Beveren)

644 of Kernwerk IJmuiden. (Photo: Arthur van Beveren)

On the 2nd and 3th of September a conference will take place in Amersfoort and Middelburg, the Netherlands.

European experts will gather together on the 2nd and 3rd of September 2010 to exchange knowledge and ideas regarding this monumental defence line. Historians, policy makers, (landscape)architects, museum directors, planners, sociologists and bunker fans will enter in a fruitful debate. This multi-disciplinary seminar will end the object-oriented fixation with the Atlantikwall, focusing instead on integrating its military, spatial, historical and socio-economic aspects.

Prof. dr. Marieke Kuipers (NL) will speak about the shift from an ‘object’ related approach of bunkers towards present-day regionally grounded heritage by using the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie (New Dutch Water Defence Line) as a case-study.
Prof. dr. Inge Marszolek (GER) will discuss the notions of myth-making, perpetrators and victims, space and landscape and the German view of their ‘colonial heritage’ – the Atlantikwall.
Rose Tzalmona (CAN/NL) will address the transformation from ‘collective amnesia’ towards ‘collective remembrance’ exemplified in artistic and architectonic interventions along the western-European coastline.

Rudi Rolf (NL) will present a historical overview of the Atlantikwall and offer his assessment of its present condition. Lenco van der Weel (NL) will discuss various approaches and methods pertaining to bunker restoration projects. Janne Wilberg (NOR) will explain how the remnants of the Atlantikwall in Norway stand in relation to Norwegian heritage policies.

For more information on the conference and to subscribe for either one or two days visit the website