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 national) press.' 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

Tijdschriftenbank Zeeland

Zeeuws Tijdschrift | 2004 | | pagina 9