A corridor in the nuclear shelter Regan Vest, Source: Lars Horn / North Jutland Museums

Denmark opens up nuclear bunker for tourist visits

Denmark opens up nuclear bunker for tourist visits

The facility dates to the Cold War period and has never been used, yet with the current climate, the timing of its opening feels optimal

From Monday, 13 February, a nuclear bunker called Regan Vest will be operating as a museum, welcoming tourists in the north of Denmark. The facility dates back to the Cold War period and was created after the Soviet Union tested its Hydrogen Bomb.

More specifically, it was built over a 5-year period (from 1963 to 1968) due to fears that older shelters would not be able to withstand the force of the new lethal technology. The bunker was also deemed necessary due to heightened tensions in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, considered the point in history when the world came closest to an armed nuclear conflict.

Who was it meant for?

The bomb shelter was not intended for the general population, however, but rather for the highest rungs of government, meaning the royal family and the cabinet ministers.

Located almost 400 kilometres from Copenhagen, and 60 metres under the ground under a chalk hill, it was meant to be "the last bastion" of democracy in Denmark, as museum director Lars Christian Norbach told AFP.

The survival of the government in the event of a nuclear disaster was essential to the nation's sovereignty. In other words, as long as there was a government, even hidden in a bunker, there would still be a Danish state.

Fortunately, the shelter never got to be used and was taken out of service in 2003 and its location was declassified in 2012. Now, a decade later, comes the next step by making it open to the general public so they will have the chance to experience a veritable time capsule from the Cold War.

Walking through the long, arched corridors, visitors see the basic bedroom intended for the monarch, the cafeteria, the government conference room and 60s-style decor in a dimly-lit lounge. Everything has been kept in its original state.

Museum visitors will walk two kilometres (1.2 miles) during the 90-minute tour, and still only see about 40 per cent of it.

Still, the timing of the museum opening seems to be very meaningful given the current nuclear anxiety stemming from the war posturing of the Russian government in connection to the War in Ukraine.



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