The war in Ukraine is far away, but it still makes people in The Hague think; suppose there are bombs here too, where can you go?

It’s a terrible thought, but one that has been playing in our heads for a few days now. Because, suppose Putin also fires his bombs at The Hague? Are there still usable air-raid shelters in The Hague?

Air-raid shelters

If you look around you in The Hague, you will see You can’t find a sign anywhere that refers to an air raid shelter. Logical, because we hope never to need them again. Yet the underground shelters are there. But where do you find them, and more importantly, where is the entrance?

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Station road. Public interest in an underground air raid shelter in 1024. Hollands Spoor station in the background. Photo: ANP

And that answer seems more difficult than you might think. Logical actually, because luckily we no longer needed the air-raid shelters. We know that there were bomb shelters in a number of places in the city, but some of them have been closed or disappeared.

Locations

If all goes well, there should still be air-raid shelters on, for example, the Plein, the Buitenhof, the Delftselaan and the Veluweplein. We contact the municipality about the status of the underground shelters. Through a spokesperson, the Monuments Department says: “There is certainly war heritage in The Hague, including public shelters and government emergency seats. However, most of these are no longer accessible because, for example, the entrance has been removed. Some shelters have completely disappeared.”

This does not answer the question of how many air-raid shelters The Hague has and whether they are (still) usable and in good condition. The search continues. The defense department of the national government refers us to NCTV (National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism).

There are no more air-raid shelters

    Spokesperson Miral Scheffer says that there is no list of air raid shelters in The Hague, nor in the rest of the Netherlands. “There are no more air-raid shelters in the Netherlands. In addition, the question is to what extent an air-raid shelter offers protection.”

    Nevertheless, we still contact the fire brigade and the Red Cross, who are there for us in the event of a disaster. A spokesperson for the fire brigade also does not know which cellars are suitable and who may manage the key to the shelters. Also the Red Cross Haaglanden has no answer ready.

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Public air-raid shelters

Since the municipality, fire brigade, Red Cross and NCTV do not allow us any further help, we will look further ourselves. We arrive at a website, but we do not know from which time the information dates. Air-raid shelters are sometimes closed or converted into parking garages. On the website Forten.info we find a list, including photos of the (former) entrance to public shelters. According to the website, the air-raid shelters below are still in good condition:

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