“Bunker Day” attracts 10,000 visitors to West Flanders

Sunday’s third Bunker Day attracted no fewer than 10,000 visitors to war time bunkers at 17 locations in West Flanders. In Flanders the Bunker Day is organised by the West Flemish provincial authorities and Atlantikwall Raversyde. A total of six countries, including the Channel Islands Jersey and Guernsey took part in the “Atlantikwall Europe” event. In Flanders the best preserved section of the network of bunkers built by the occupying German forces can be found at the Raversyde Provincial Estate in Ostend. There the renovated Aachen Battery was open to visitors on Sunday.  There visitors were given a unique glimpse of the Germans’ First World War coastal defences. The Second World Ward Saltzwedel Battery was also open to the public on Sunday. The organisers are pleased with the large number of visitors to Sunday’s Bunker Day.

 

"There were a lot of people. At Raversyde we had more than 2,600 visitors”, Mathieu De Meyer told VRT Radio.

Mr De Meyer added that “All the activities where advanced reservation was required were fully-booked. Elsewhere were flooded with visitors too”.

The lion’s share of the sites that were open to the public were along the coast. In addition to Raversyde, bunkers were open to the public at Knokke-Heist, Middelkerke, Koksijde….Extra tour guides had to be drafted in to deal with the larger than expected number of visitors at the De Halve Maan bunker complex in Ostend. The cold war command bunker in De Panne also proved popular among visitors, as did the artillery bunker in Blanckenberge that was open to the public for the first time.       

Elsewhere, the Hollandstellung at Lapscheure near Damme was open to the public, as were a former munitions depot and POW camp at Zedelgem.  

In future the organisers hope to persuade sites in other Belgian provinces and in the Zeeuws-Vlaanderen area of the Dutch province of Zeeland to take part.   

The Bunker Day originates from The Netherlands, where it was held for the 7th time on 25 May. In 2018 Jersey, Guernsey, France, Germany, Denmark and Norway organised Bunker Days for the first time.