WWII Bunker Split in Half to Create an Artistic Memorial

Bunker 559, built in 1940, split in half for an artistic memorial.

Guns.com brings the story of Bunker 599 located in the Netherlands, was cut in half and has been turned into an artistic war memorial.

Originally built in 1949, the bunker was supposed to hold up to 13 soldiers during bomb raids. It was one of the (many) small hiccups in the New Dutch Waterline (NDW). This was an expansive series of water-based defenses that dated all the way back to 1815. With the help of Dutch Studios RAAAF and Atelier de Lyon, the bunker was able to be split in the middle. This has created a unique war memorial for World War II.

The NDW was meant to be used 1940 to protect the Dutch cities of Muiden, Utrecht, Vreeswijk, and Gorinchem. The waterline was to flood the area with water as a means of protection. Bunker 599 was one of 700. After 40 long days of cutting through the concrete, it now stands apart from the rest as a tourist attraction and a war memorial.
“Our aim with the project was to question the policies on monuments by doing this intervention,” said Ronald Rietveld of RAAAF.

Stairs now pass through the open bunker, leading to a wooden boardwalk raised above the flooded area.
“The pier and the piles supporting it remind them that the water surrounding them is not cause by e.g. the removal of sand, but rather is a shallow water plain characteristic of inundations in times of war,” Rietveld said of the project.

After RAAAF and de Lyon’s intervention on bunker 599, the structure was elevated from a municipal monument to a national monument.
Bunker 599, the making of:

In a radical way this intervention sheds new light on the Dutch policy on cultural heritage. At the same, it makes people look at their surroundings in a new way. The New Dutch Waterline, a former defence line in the Netherlands, has potential for contemporary functions.


All images: http://www.raaaf.nl/nl/projects/7_bunker_599


Evette Champion

Evette Champion is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE