Before the graffiti

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)

Posted on October 18, 2010 at 11:37 am by Arthur van Beveren · Permalink
In: Holland, News, Photography · Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

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  1. Written by Ray Mond
    on May 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Great shots, thanks for posting, looking foward to paying a visit here.

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