Museumscenter Hanstholm

Museumscenter Hanstholm is situated near one of the large bunkers from the Second World War. From the museum there is access to the bunker museum which has kept some of its original equipment. During the summer, a small munitions train takes visitors through the area on the old munition track.

Hanstholm Fortress

During the Second World War, the Germans built a strong coastal battery in and around Hanstholm due to the strategic location of the area at the entrance to the Skagerrak. The result was about 450 concrete installations in Hanstholm. The core of the installations was a battery with four large 38 cm guns with a range of 55 km. That is almost half-way to Norway. Each gun was placed in a large sunken emplacement with an attached bunker of 3000 m2. The 38 cm battery had a crew of 600 men, and 90 men were attached to each gun; all living and working in the bunker. The 800 kg shells were transported on railway tracks from the munition bunkers to the gun bunkers, where an advanced technique lifted them into the gun. A number of other installations were built around the battery. Their purpose was primarily to protect against attack.

The Hanstholm battery, which was fully operating from autumn 1941, never came into battle, as no enemy ever showed up. However, test firing was carried out with the guns, and the anti-aircraft guns were used regularly against the allied aircraft which flew above Hanstholm, but attacks were never targeted at the battery.

Evacuating the locals

When there were most, about 4000 Germans soldiers lived in Hanstholm. They manned the guns and guarded the area. In 1942, the original residents of Hansted, who at the beginning of the war totalled about 800 people, were evacuated from the area. Some were re-housed in prefabs in Ræhr, others went to Hirtshals, and only some of them returned to Hanstholm in 1946. Before the Hanstholm area could be inhabited again, many landmines had to be removed and the houses which had accommodated the Germans had to be renovated.

After the war, the plantation surrounding the town was laid out to hide the concrete installations from the war and to provide shelter from the wind.

The museum is open every day from 1 February to 31 October. In the period 1 June to 31 August from 10am-5pm. In the period 1 February to 31 May and 1 September to 31 October as well as 25 December to 30 December from 10am-4pm. The munition train runs every day during the Easter holidays, from 1 May to 31 August and in the autumn holiday.