Always looking out for the primary source
Cor Heijkoop: 'Give Landfront the recognition it deserves'
'I have impressed the caretaker of a French castle once' says Cor Heijkoop. 'Everybody wants to view the
castle, but I want to visit the bunker beneath the building. How do you know there actually is a bunker? they
would ask.' Heijkoop laughs bemused. Systematic research is the keyword. Heijkoop, chairman of the
Foundation to preserve Bunkers, has spent many years doing just this. He became well-known with his well-
documented books on maritime matters in Zeeland (Sealand), the most watery province of the Netherlands.
World War 2 is his second passion.
Jan J.B. Kuipers
In the five years of her existence, this Foundation to
preserve Bunkers (FPB) has acquired a significant
place amongst he Museums and educational boards
concerned with the history of Zeeland. Their official
goal is to protect, preserve and to restore historically
valuable bunkers, in order to safeguard them for pros
perity. Their main activity at present is the exploitation
of the Bunker-Museum at Zoutelande, and initializing
a so-called 'Bunker-route'. The museum is located in
two bunkers: a 502-type troop-bunker (mapref: Vliss-
West 022-248) and an Observation-post of the 143-
type (mapref. Vliss-West 021-252).
The FPB also instigates Open Days in bunkers on
Walcheren, Schouwen-Duiveland, and in the near
future Zeeuwsch-Vlaanderen/Flanders will be inclu
ded. With these Open Days for the general public,
they hope to gain support for their preservation-plans.
Support? Do you still have to seek it?
'Absolutely not' says Heijkoop. 'We use a theme-
approach. This year, the theme is the German com
munication via field-telephone and field-telex. We
have acquired an original Switchboard, a telex-machine
and several benchmark-tools from those days. This
approach really seems to strike a chord. We get about
15.000 visitors a year! There are many schools
amongst this number, so we really meet our education
al goals. The fact that we do not charge admission-fees
makes us rather unique. People can leave a voluntary
contribution, and it really works out fine.'
The importance of negotiating
Cor Heijkoops daytime-job is that of Head of Services
at the main Zeeland Library in Middelburg. His
department carries a staff of round 40. 'I always made
it my business to know what was going on within the
Civil service, so they asked me to become Chairman.
To maintain good relationships with all lands of (local)
authorities is of crucial importance to a Foundation
like FPB. We depend on grants and subsidies for a
great deal. The municipality of Veere, the Province of
Zeeland, and other special funds. Other priorities of the
current FPD-board are a well-functioning organization,
and maintaining good relations with the (local and
The bunker-route is still in its development-phase.
The first 'loop' of this walk and bicycle route has nearly
been completed. The first phase takes one from the
'Dragons Tooth-blockade' in Great-Valkenisse, via the
first machine-gun bunker 630 to the Tank-ditch on
the through-road to Koudekerke-Biggekerke. Along
this stretch are 5 Machine-gun bunker-turrets of the
Vlissingen/Flushing Landfront. Heijkoop: 'That route
is a cooperation-effort with the Town council of Veere,
the Waterworks-Authority of the Zeeland Islands
(Zeeuwse Eilanden), the Landscape-authorities and
our own FPB. It goes to show the importance of good
communications. You have to deal with all kinds of
different interests. This applies even more so for the
official recognition of our 'Landfront' project. This
Landfront is one of major historical and monumental
value. We think it should be recognized as such by the
local government. We want to convince the local aut
horities to see this area as a 'Green Zone', between
the rapid Urban development of cities like Flushing
and Middelburg. Thus combining the interests of the
Planology-, Monument-care and Nature-preservation
7 Zeeuws Tijdschrift 2004/6-7