Bayernwald trenches (Bavaria Wood)
The Germans captured this 40 metre-high strategic location in 1914 and turned it into an impregnable fortress, which they held until the summer of 1917. The ingenious trench system at Bayernwald was the German answer to the mining threat posed by their British opponents. Part of this system has been accurately reconstructed. Its listening shafts, trenches and four bunkers tell the story of the war from the German side.
On 7 June 1917, the British exploded 19 underground mines between Hill 60 and Ploegsteert. These explosions created huge craters. The largest is the Pool of Peace, which is now a site of great natural beauty and calm. Its depth of 12 metres and diameter of 129 metres give some idea of the power of the explosion. A place to stop and think.
The bunker on the Kemmelberg (Mount Kemmel) was built at the start of the 1950s as a command centre for the aerial
defences of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, France and Great Britain. Because NATO was working during this same period to develop an integrated air defence system, the facility was never used for its original purpose. In the 1960s, the bunker was transformed into the headquarters of the General Staff of
the Belgian Armed Forces, but after the end of the Cold War it quickly lost any useful purpose. This once secret site, perfectly preserved in its original condition, testifies to half a century of tension between East and West.
The bunker's numerous photos, films, objects, uniforms and items of military equipment immerse visitors in the true
atmosphere of the Cold War.
On 9 November 2019 it was exactly 30 years since the Berlin Wall fell peacefully. With unique images from both East and West Germany, the municipality of Heuvelland, the War Heritage Institute and Berlin No More Walls sketch the history of the Wall: its context, its construction and its ending, as well as what life was like on both sides of this iconic structure.
You can visit the exhibition until 3 October 2020 during the opening hours of the Command Bunker