All over Europe, there are still colossal concrete structures that were built as defense during World War II. Some are underground, others are of great height, they are distributed in all the countries that participated in the conflict. But they all have one thing in common: today, war bunkers are being reconditioned and used for other purposes. Although history will always remember them for what they really were.
Bunkers in France and the Netherlands already have another use.
In France, more precisely in Bordeaux, there is a large submarine base. There, during the war, they protected the German and Italian submarine fleets. Today, this huge enclosure is called Bassins de Lumières and is the largest digital art center in the world. The subway space is about 13,000 square meters and is used to exhibit works by contemporary artists.
In the Netherlands, there are a series of bunkers that were built as part of the German Atlantic Wall. It was a 5000 kilometer fortification and they used it to defend against Allied aircraft.
Some of the bunkers are made of concrete, others of iron and are smaller spaces. There are also some built with bricks, with high ceilings and windows that give them luminosity. Thanks to the efforts and work of a non-profit organization, they will be reconverted into housing for tourism.
In Austria and Germany there are also transformed bunkers.
Augarten Park in Vienna, Austria, was an important witness of World War II. Bunkers were built in this area to protect citizens during bombing raids. Some of these sites were left in ruins; however, they were eventually refurbished for other uses.
One of them is the Aquarium Haus de Meeres. During the war it was a Nazi bunker that was built in 1943, and housed German soldiers and military equipment. Today it belongs to Austria and since 1950, the aquarium has been operating there, and is one of the most visited sites in Vienna.
In Hamburg, Germany, is the Feldstrasse Bunker. A 50-meter high concrete building. It was built in record time in 1942, in only 300 days, by workers forced to accomplish the task. Today, it is known as the media or green bunker. It is a space that for young people represents creativity, culture and participation. There is a sector, destined to remember its history.
Also in Germany, exactly in Bremen, is the bunker of the Deaconesses, built in 1942, also with the labor of forced laborers. It is a colossal fortified concrete building 25 meters high. It protected the wounded nurses and soldiers of the Deaconesses’ hospital from air raids. Later it was used as a clinic and then as an atomic shelter. Since 2021, it has been used as a cultural space for clubs, meetings and exhibitions.