The old casino building on the front in Middelkerke has been completely demolished. The bunker was discovered during preparations for the construction of the new building that will be erected on the same spot.
VRT’s Tijs Mauroo was one of the first people to step inside the bunker in decades. He says most local people were aware that two bunkers had been constructed underneath the casino, but the main question concerned the state in which they would be found. The second bunker still needs to be localised.
When he visited the first bunker together with archaeologists Tijs saw with his own eyes that all traces of ammunition, weapons and personal belongings had been removed. These were probably taken away at the end of the war or shortly after the Liberation by Canadian and British troops. The subterranean rooms are well-preserved and include several striking notices including one banning the use of electrical equipment (top).
The discovery of the bunker is unlikely to delay building work as it is not unique. It will be properly examined and studied before it is demolished. Demolition of the bunker will be no easy task given its concrete construction and 2-metre-thick walls.
Mayor Jean-Marie Dedecker (right wing liberal) of Middelkerke is relieved a lengthy archaeological examination of the German construction will not be required.