During Bunker Day, the remains, such as bunkers and other elements of the Atlantic Wall along the coast of the Netherlands, are put in the spotlight and opened to the public for one day. Sometimes the bunkers are still clearly visible and accessible, but sometimes also overgrown by nature or located on a private area. During Bunker Day, we make locations accessible and we organize additional educational activities such as guided tours, film screenings and re-enactment.
Bunker Day is originated in 2014 due to the desire to extend the scope of the (mostly local) initiatives and activities that exist around the Atlantic Wall heritage and to stimulate cooperation between these parties. And that worked! Bunken Day now comprises more than 25 organizations, 110 bunkers from the Wadden Islands to the border of Belgium and attracts more than 15,000 visitors every year.
The European Heritage Atlantic Wall Foundation is the initiator of the Bunker Day. The organization is done by Donkergroen creators.
Thousands of varying sized bunkers were built at a high rate as part of the Atlantic Wall during the occupation. After the war they were quickly abandoned, demolished, buried under the sand (from the dunes) or otherwise left to become derelict, allowing nature to slowly take over.
Bats in bunkers
It has mainly been bats that have discovered the benefits of safe and frost-free winters in bunkers. The fact that most of the concrete constructions were subterranean meant that they were ideal locations for breeding and shelter during wintertime, providing a safe ‘meeting place’ for male and female bats.
Bats are the only mammals that can fly. Thanks to their special way of life, they can reach a great age, individuals frequently passing 30 years of age. Food for these insect-eaters is scarce in wintertime and so it is essential that they can count on undisturbed shelter for the colder months. Properly maintained bunkers can serve as their dwelling for years.
Of the approximately 20 species of bat, it is mainly the Daubenton’s bat, the lake bat, the whiskered bat and the common long-eared bat that use the Atlantic Wall bunkers and corridors. It is important that the locations used by these species remain undisturbed from August to mid-May (their winter and breeding season).
A bunker must meet a number of standards:
The preservation of cultural heritage bunkers goes hand-in-hand perfectly with the preservation and expansion of winter shelters for bats, amphibians and insects.
Remaining questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us!
Blijft op de hoogte van de laatste ontwikkelingen van Bunkerdag!