Before the 2nd World War started, the dunes north of Noordwijk were used as a golf course. This changed at the end of 1940, as the German marines took control of the area. About 180 soldiers came to reside there and living quarters, washing facilities and combat places were built for them. In total about 80 buildings, varying from wooden sanitary facilities to heavy concrete bunkers which had walls up to 3 meters thick. The building of the largest bunker S414 took more than 1,800 m3 of concrete, the equivalent of the contents of about 300 modern cement trucks! Therefore it is no wonder the Germans also built a railway to the bunkers to transport all the required raw materials. This, together with rationing, schemes for changing the guard, and defence strategies required elaborate logistical planning.
Apart from the daily exercises, the men filled their days mainly with the building of more bunkers. This continued for the duration of the war, which resulted in almost one constructed bunker for every two soldiers in the area. The bunkers were covered with sand and grass taken from the golf course.
When the allies visited the bunkers after the liberation, they first disabled the canons and removed the ammunition. In 1946, the canons were demolished for scrap metal and the area became accessible to the public. The bunkers remained a popular playground for children until they were closed down and covered with sand at the beginning of 1970. However, due to the Russian threat, the Dutch government had one ammunition bunker converted to store valuable paintings and other artwork. This came to an end and nowadays this bunker is in use as ‘Museum Engelandvaarders’.
The map to the left shows the central part of the battery, which consists of the command bunker (S414), four heavy gun bunkers (S.K.) and two ammunition bunkers (Fl246). These are all interconnected by tunnels.
The S414 command bunker is a three storry high bunker, which was used for central battery command. This bunker offered a full ocean view, enabling observation and trajectory calculation.
Near the command bunker the entrance of the Atlantikwall Museum can be found. (from the road ‘Bosweg’ to the north to the yellow roof in the dunes).
The gun bunkers not only housed the four 155mm guns, but were also used as living quarters.
Supplies for the canons came from the ammunition bunkers, which were connected by a tunnel containing a narrow railway.
The ammunition bunker (Fl246) at the bottom of the map is currently being used for the exhibition, however the Atlantikwall Society plans to open more in the future.
(text and translation by P. Harff and D. Harff)