Strandweg 1A. That’s the address of the Bunker Museum – an address in The Hague that we simply couldn’t find…”It must be here,” I muttered as we looked high and low, walking from the harbour to the beach and back again; following the blue GPS marker on Google Maps as it reached its red destination. Then after asking a waitress at a local fish and chips joint, we were told that we were in fact right next door, pretty much looking onto it. But where? Disbelieve spread across my face as we exited the glass doors and away from the smell of herring and harbour folk.
The Bunker Museum is an open plot of land, which is probably why we overlooked it in the first place. ‘We should have known’ was a phrase I uttered upon entry. A sheet plastic sign flapped in the wind and led to muddled text and further distortion – a kind of dystopia with rubble, burnt tyres and debris all round. When we looked down towards a hole in the ground with the Bunker now staring us straight in the face, it dawned on me that of course we struggled to find it and that that was the entire point. Once.
We descended stairs where two men were actively moving rubble from one to another side and then entered through the small entry bowing our heads as the tallest Dutch on earth. Inside you’ll find that two interleading rooms comprise objects of war including everything from bullets, banners, to black and white photographs, bars of soap and bodies – replicas of soldiers in uniform. And it’s all placed as though stored and shelved for safekeeping – left as is. Some more disturbing signs of war on display to rattle our cages make us think of the atrocities and that one can never really bury them (even down inside a Bunker).
In close, if you’re keen on the history of Holland, objects dating from the war and want to explore a museum that’s just a little bit different, then try the Bunker Museum in The Hague right near the harbour. But be warned – you’d better keep a good eye out for the place or you’ll end up having fish and chips instead.