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For most people, a day at the beach of Hook of Holland also means they will enjoy something to eat or drink at one of the many friendly restaurants that reside here. Restaurant “Het Jagershuis” is such a place. It lies conveniently along the “Badhuisweg” towards the beach and has a relaxed atmosphere with a diner, a lounge bar complete with Chesterfield sofa’s and a fire place and it has a quiet garden terrace at the back.
Now, before you start accusing LandmarkScout of having some kind of advertising deal with the owner, there is of course a good reason why we mention this restaurant other than it being a nice place. The original building was built here as an officers mess by the German Kriegsmarine. It was part of Marine (Flak) Batterie Nord-mole (Eng: Northern pier), that was positioned here, which was in it’s turn part of the much larger “Festung (Eng: Fortress) Hook of Holland” along the Atlantikwall.
Fortress Hook of Holland
The area of Hook of Holland was declared a “Festung” of “Fortress”, because of it’s strategic importance as a Kriegsmarine Harbor at the North Sea and lay at the estuary of the “Nieuwe Waterweg” towards the Port of Rotterdam. During the construction of the Atlantikwall from 1942, the whole area was heavily fortified with bunker concentrations and anti-tank trenches and obstacles. The civilian population was forced to leave the area.
Restaurant Het Jagershuis
When taking pictures of “Het Jagershuis” we were met by the restaurants owner Mr. Moerman, who invited us in for a cup of coffee and told us more about the place and how it changed during the years. His father bought it after the war and it has been run by the family ever since. As a local of Hook of Holland, Mr. Moerman has a lot of knowledge about the history of the area.
The present restaurant looks nothing like the original officers mess that it used to be.
Zisterne or Wasserversorgung – Regelbau 675
At the back of the restaurant near the dunes at the end of the garden terrace, there is a Water storage/supply bunker. The protruded sloping walls at the front are not conform any standard design. These might have been added to keep the sand of the dunes away from the entrance and provide extra protection. Next to defending the coastline, battling the winds and sand at Hook of Holland would be another hard task.
On the German Baufortschrittskarte (Construction progress map) of Hook of Holland (25-3-1945) the bunker is marked as a “Zisterne”, which means that it was a subterranean or covered water supply. No Regelbau type number is added. The bunker number “1431” next to the entrance also corresponds to the one on the map of the Zisterne.
According to the “Atlantic Wall Typology” guide, only one such a bunker has been constructed in the Netherlands. If this information is correct, then this is the one(!) and we can conclude it is a very unique bunker indeed.
The brick wall on top of the bunker is not original and was put there by the restaurant owner to create an extra terrace. Notice the emergency exit on the flank with the green garden hose on it.
To enter the small bunker, you first have to take some steps down to a small sunken terrace lined by a brick wall to reach the bunkers entrance door. The owner Mr. Moerman told us the wall wasn’t in good shape and he repaired it here and there. The collar on top protecting the bunker entrance from soil and water has partly been cut away to facilitate the stairs to the top terrace.
The picture above shows how far the bunker would have been dug into the sand dunes, although it is even more likely that the top of the bunker would have been covered completely by sand during the war.
We were very happy when Mr. Moerman opened up the bunker and showed us the interior.
Once through the corridor you first enter a small room, which should be the gas lock, from there to the right you enter another slightly larger room where you can see the pump installation. Unfortunately, the pump is missing some parts. Mr. Moerman has displayed some items here that he found in and around the bunker.
It is clear that some of the interior has been renovated. The hatch, the stairs and the pump installation have received a fresh layer of paint. The original text on the interior walls have been covered by frames with glass to prevent further decay.
The bath house and crew facilities
To the right of the restaurant lies a brick building that Mr. Moerman says dates from the German occupation and is still partly original. The building appears to have been some sort of washing facility or bath house. Mr. Moerman showed us the inside of the small addition to the building on the left (see picture) where there was some sort of reservoir which could be heated.
It has taken a long time for me to publish this story. Our visit to Mr. Moerman and the wasser bunker was many years ago.
Unfortunately we have recently learned that the property has now been sold and will fall victim to a real estate project, which will tear down the Jagerhuis and turn the wasser bunker into a bathhouse and Jacuzzi for the new inhabitants, along with the modification of various bunkers nearby.
From our perspective, this is of course a terrible mutilation of a unique piece of history.
So, if you want to visit, don’t wait too long.