Nuclear bunkers were built during the Cold War

Nuclear bunkers were built during the Cold War

Denmark’s latest tourist attraction offers an insight into Cold War thinking

Koldrigsmuseet REGAN Vest is the nuclear bunker built to house both the government and the Danish Royal Family

It may not be a traditional destination for your average holidaymaker, being hidden 60m below ground and located in the middle of a forest 400km north west of Copenhagen, but Koldrigsmuseet REGAN Vest is one of the latest, and perhaps most interesting, additions to Denmark’s list of tourist attractions.

Built in the 1960s, it has been rechristened The Cold War Museum, the location where the Danish government and even the Royal Family would have been evacuated to, in the event of a nuclear war breaking out.

So secretive was the decision to build the bunker that its very existence was only made public in 2012, around 20 years after the 'first' Cold War effectively ended. Several years of preparatory work have been undertaken at the site before it was opened as museum earlier this year.

It is located near the small town of Skørping in Rold Forest, 30km south of Aalborg, and it remained on standby as an evacuation point until 2003, only then officially being taken out of service. Its existence showed how fearful many European countries were about the dangers of a nuclear attack, with Denmark’s location on the Baltic Sea and its membership of NATO the reasons behind its decision to build such bunkers.

It took five years to construct REGAN Vest starting in 1963, a 5,500sqm building established that contained more than 230 rooms, able to house around 350 people. Among those ‘chosen’ to be evacuated to the site would be ministers, civil servants, medical staff and, of course, a priest.

Visitors get to see a place frozen in time, offices equipped with old-fashioned telephones, a communication room and small radio studio, its decor very much of the 1960s and 70s, including dozens of original classic chairs by iconic Danish designer Arne Jacobsen.

“It’s a different world here,” is how Lars Christian Nørbach, North Jutland Museums’ director described REGAN Vest. “What’s special here is that this bunker stands authentic. It’s kind of a time capsule. Quite a huge time capsule.”

Falstaff Editorial Team
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