cold war museum
New Cold War museum in old atomic bunker in Denmark. Photo: AART architects & Nordjyllands Historiske Museum

Denmark’s secret atomic bunker will become the heart of a new Cold War museum

An underground bunker, located in the middle of Rold Skov in Himmerland, Denmark was a shelter for the Danish Government and Royal Family in the 1960’s, when doomsday seemed to be lurking right around the corner. Now the bunker will be revived as the centre for Denmark’s Cold War museum. NIRAS is consulting on the project.

23. Jan 2020

REGAN West is a 5,500m2 atomic bunker, which was secretly constructed in the 1960’s during the Cold War. It was established to provide shelter for the Danish Government and Royal Family in case of a nuclear war. The bunker was preserved in 2014 and remains with all its original interior intact.

NIRAS is part of the team that will construct a new entrance- and exhibition building with modern audience facilities, exhibitions, and a learning centre in connection to the bunker, which will now become a part of the new Cold War museum.

“A unanimous jury, selected the team based on their proposition, which manages to create a solution where the existing bunker and the appertaining marine and technical engineer residence, together with the unique nature and the new building, will come together as one natural entity. Slightly hidden behind a forested area, the new exhibition building will be established as four partially buried boxes that gradually reveal themselves to the visitors. The flow between the four boxes – and between all parts of REGAN West – Denmark’s Cold War museum – is achieved both pragmatically and simply, which will give the audience an overall rewarding experience,” says chairman for property FundWest, Claus Holm from Reblid municipality.

The building secretly closes in at night

On the surface, the entrance – and exhibition building will be the only visible manifestation of the new Cold War museum. As four black boxes, the building will be hidden deep in the forest. With its dynamic , the entrance- and exhibition building will open up during the day, while at night, it will hermetically and secretly close down.

The entrance- and exhibition building encompasses seven exhibition series, which involve the visitors and provide different perspectives on the Cold War. From the fear of nuclear weapons to the strictly separated political fronts and scenarios in case of war. All of it arranged to create a cohesive connection between the different exhibitions.

The bunker exhibits a societal narrative about the Cold War, never before conveyed. The new museum will bring the story to life and give new, powerful experiences for children as well as adults. 

In the new museum there will be a scaled model of the old atomic bunker. Photo: AART architects & Nordjyllands Historiske Museum

Tremendously exciting project

NIRAS is very much looking forward to commence the new project. Senior project manager in NIRAS, Knud Skovgaard Pedersen says:

“It is always a pleasure to gather the team for a new project. And it brings me great joy to see the players on the team unfold their competences personally and professionally on the project. Moreover, I look forward to contribute to create a fruitful collaboration within the project team and with the client.”

According to Knud Skovgaard Pedersen, cultural- and museum constructions definitely have a special spirit and a greater societal interest than many other traditional constructions, which makes it even more exciting to work with.

On this project, NIRAS will need special competences within the sustainability certification DGNB, occupational health and safety coordination, construction work, security, and special installations.

“REGAN West has some technically exciting challenges regarding , technical utilities, and construction site layout, as well as logistics, “ Knud Skovgaard Pedersen says. He is looking forward to the preliminary workshops with the client and , which will kick off the project.

 The bunker 60 meters underground was preserved in 2014 and remains with all its original interior intact. Photo: AART architects & Nordjyllands Historiske Museum

​When the museum opens, there will be access to the bunker with guided tours. Photo: Lars Horn & Nordjyllands Historiske Museum