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The Atlantic Wall

Remnants of Hitler's Atlantic Wall can be found along the entire coastline of the Wadden Sea. During the Second World War, the many bunkers played an important role in German coastal defences, which stretched from the North Cape to the Pyrenees.

There are many traces of the Atlantic Wall along the coast of the Wadden Sea. Denmark's largest shore battery was located here and, along with several smaller battery positions, it protected the port of Esbjerg, which was strategically vital for the occupying forces. However, the bunkers also had a number of other functions such as radar stations, listening posts or command centres. Several of the bunkers are open to the public and their exhibitions tell the story of a time when the whole world was at war.

Tirpitz battery at Blåvand

The Tirpitz battery, with its two enormous gun emplacements, is located near Blåvand. The plan was that, together with the Hanstholm battery, it would be the biggest shore battery in Denmark. However, construction was not completed before the war had ended. Tirpitz and the batteries on Fanø, protected the approaches to the port of Esbjerg, which was a strategic focal point for the occupying forces. The position's four naval guns, with a range of up to 55 kilometres, were intended to cover the area from Nymindegab to Fanø, but at the time of liberation the four enormous cannon were still sitting idly at Guldager Station by Esbjerg. After the war, the bunkers were sealed off and used by the Defence Command of Denmark for test blasting. The southern bunker was excavated and converted into a museum in 1991.

Headquarters in Esbjerg

Esbjerg and Fanø were one of the best fortified areas during the Second World War. Around 1,200 bunkers were built in the area. Esbjerg had the only port that could be used by an Allied invasion, and it was therefore a vital strategic point for the occupying forces. A large bunker, located six metres underground, can be found in Strandskoven in Esbjerg. It was a command bunker for air defences and all German artillery in the area. Above ground stood a 15-metre-high lookout tower, with a telescope.  From this vantage point, German soldiers could monitor airplanes, ships and troop movements in western Jutland. The headquarters of the German Navy were at first located in the now demolished Royal Hotel in Esbjerg, 

but were later moved to an installation between the city and the port. The biggest bunker lies buried beneath the offices of the Port Authorities, protected by deep layers of soil. Phosphorus paint has been preserved in the switchboard room of the bunker. It was used there so the switchboard could still be operated during a blackout.

The Batteries on Fanø

About 300 bunkers were built on Fanø. Fanø’s coastal artillery consisted of five positions, three of which were located on the northern tip. The battery on northern Fanø was part of the defences for the port of Esbjerg. The battery was also in action when formations of allied bombers flew over on their way to and from targets in Germany. A long concrete road leads from Fanø Bad in the north to the battery at Grådyb. The battery's four, once very modern, 15cm cannon were originally fitted on the battleship Gneisenau. They were moved to Fanø after the ship was damaged during an allied bombing raid. The cannon were used for coastal defence and had a range of 22 kilometres. The battery at Fanø Plantage was equipped with four cannon from the Danish coastal defence ship Peder Skram, which was scuttled by its own crew on 29 August 1943 at Holmen, Copenhagen.

Positions on Rømø

The sea surrounding Rømø is very shallow, and during the war there was no embankment to the mainland. An allied invasion would have been difficult on Rømø, and therefore defences on the island were only rudimentary. However, it was important to the Germans that any allied airborne attack was detected as soon as possible. Therefore, from 1942 until the end of the war, a continuous stream of ever-more efficient radars were constructed on Romø. There were at least eight different radar masts on the island when the war ended. These installations made up one of the most advanced radar positions in Denmark. A total of 50 bunkers were constructed on the island.

Recreation on Mandø.

An aircraft observation post was located on Mandø.

The post had a wooden tower equipped with a telescope, and the crew lived in barracks. Mandø was also used as a recreational area for soldiers who had served on the Eastern front. One of the German army’s coastal batteries was located by Vester Vedsted school on the mainland.

After the war

When the Second World War ended in May 1945, the German soldiers abandoned the bunkers. The allied forces carried out a major exercise in which they tested the German radar installations. After this, all the equipment was stripped from the bunkers and reused. Most of the bunkers were sealed off and left to succumb to the western winds and drift sand.

Experience the Atlantic Wall

When visiting the Wadden Sea, you can explore the many different types of bunkers scattered throughout the landscape. You will even be able to look inside a few: 

  • On Romø you can see the Mammutbunker at the Robbe Nord position. Contact Tønnisgård Nature Centre about organised tours of the bunker. 
  • Most of the bunkers on Fanø are closed, and some are completely inaccessible.
  • However, a well-preserved bunker complex can be found on the northern tip of Fanø, and some of the bunkers can be entered. Contact Visit Fanø for information on organised trips. 
  • The Fisheries and Maritime Museum in Esbjerg has an exhibition in an accommodation bunker, part of which is furnished as it was during the Second World War. 
  • The Tirpitz bunker in Blåvande is a year-round exhibition. An extension of the Museum was begun in 2015.
  • A radar position and command bunker can be found at Blåvandshuk Fyr. Please note that many bunkers are located on military training areas and access is therefore limited. Guided tours of the bunkers take place regularly throughout the summer.

Guidet tur

Oplev dette på en guidet tur med en af nationalparkens dygtige turarrangører.

Guided tourGo on a guided tour with one of the National Park’s experienced tour operators.

Geführte TourWir empfehlen eine geführte Tour mit einem der erfahrenen Führer des Nationalparks.

Varde

NaturKulturVarde

Roustvej 111, 6800 Varde

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    +45 75 22 22 50

Rømø

Naturcenter Tønnisgård

Havnebyvej 30, 6792 Rømø

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    +45 74 75 52 57

Møgeltønder

Sort Safari

Slotsgaden 19, 6270 Tønder

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    +45 73 72 64 00


Besøgscentre

Hvis du vil vide mere, så besøg et af nationalparkens spændende besøgscentre.

VisitIf you want to learn more, visit one of the National Park’s exciting exhibition venues.

BesuchWenn Sie mehr erfahren möchten, sollten Sie eines der interessanten Informationszentren des Nationalparks aufsuchen.

Blåvand

Tirpitz-stillingen

Tane Hedevej, 6857 Blåvand

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    +45 75 22 08 77

Esbjerg

Fiskeri- og Søfartsmuseet

Tarphagevej 2 , 6710 Esbjerg V

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    +45 76 12 20 00

Rømø

Naturcenter Tønnisgård

Havnebyvej 30, 6792 Rømø

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    +45 74 75 52 57