THE DEEPEST SECRET - The Danish Nuclear Bunker REGAN VEST
About the book
The book is so far only in Danish.
It regards the untold story of how a national leadership prepares for nuclear war.
The book contains a lot of anecdotes and more than 120 illustrations.
Summary of the book
It could not be hidden from the neighbours that something big – something very big – was being built. The huge construction site was revealed to the few who spend time in the area – this was more than just the construction of a conventional building. A lot of soil and lime was being taken out and massive amounts of building materials were taken in. The work went on for several years but no structure ever appeared. Neighbours suspected the construction must be inside the hill, but they never shared their knowledge with outsiders. It became clear to them that something big had happened to the local area – that they were in possession of knowledge that had to be kept secret.
Tucked behind an anonymous-looking house with a garden, garage and a flagpole is the entrance to one of the largest and most expensive buildings in Denmark. Behind a well hidden and guarded door, a 300 meter long corridor leads one into an underground facility of 5,500 square meters, built to withstand nuclear weapons and to keep itself totally independent from the outside world. This bunker is a construction that does not find its equal in Denmark and it probably never will be surpassed. With rations for weeks, own water and electricity supply, medical clinic, radio studio and conference facilities, it would be possible for the country’s most important institutions to continue working from here, in case the ministries in the capital were deemed too dangerous – or were destroyed during a war.
Four decades after its construction, the facility looks almost exactly like when it was built. Through all of these years, the facility has been on standby to accommodate the country’s key figures: the royal family, the Government, and the other top officials who are needed to lead the country during times of war, when the country may have been largely destroyed.
In great secrecy and through countless exercises, the ministries of state, foreign affairs, defence, justice, interior, and health, as well as many other players, have been trained to lead the country from the facility, should it be necessary.
The facility has hosted many exercises that simulate the worst case scenario of all – the total or partial destruction of society’s major institutions. Through the decades, the facility has been permanently manned in order to accept the Danish central administration during a mobilization. The story of the facility in this book is also a journey back in time to the Cold War when the threat of a new world war was constantly present.
The authors’ personal foreword from the book:
In 1994 we had a random conversation with a man who told us that there was something highly secret in the northern part of Denmark, but he wouldn't tell us what. One would expect this brief remark to be soon forgotten. However, this was not the case. For 15 years we sought information about the secret. We were sensing that it was a military facility, and the fact that it was surrounded by so much secrecy only made things more interesting. We gathered some information, but it was a slow process with many twists and turns. Denmark’s deepest secret turned out to be disguised as an idyllic private villa. We had been close to it numerous times, without knowing the truth.
We requested access to inspect the facility and to obtain information in order to write this book. After further dialogue and negotiations, our wish was, surprisingly, met. For the very first time, we stood in front of the entrance accompanied by the commander of the facility - this time on the ”right” side of the fence! To get acquainted with this uncompromising and exceptionally well made nuclear bunker and communications centre was one of our life’s greatest experiences. We hope you will share our enthusiasm.
Quotes from the colophon:
Retired Lieutenant General KGH Hillingsoe about Denmark during the Cold War:
”In the Danish Defence we had no doubt that we were involved in a non-declared war and our enemy was the Warsaw Pact”.
Former Minister of Health Jakob Axel Nielsen about the need to build REGAN VEST:
”Why was such an exceptionally efficient but also, at the time, very, very expensive facility, built? It certainly wasn’t done out of fun. It was done because it was a necessity.”
Former security - policy adviser in the Ministry of State, Henning Gottlieb:
”One of the most fatal decisions I helped make during the Cold War exercises in the facility, was when NATO asked Denmark permission to detonate a nuclear bomb over the Baltic Sea to demonstrate the seriousness of the situation.”
1: Foreword by Lieutenant General K.G.H Hillingsoe
3: Historical context
The Cold War
Denmark during the Cold War
The purpose of a relocation facility
Civil society survival
Crisis Management Organization
4: Facilities before REGAN VEST
5: REGAN VEST
The construction sites
6: Plant physics, technology and furnishing
Primary emergency exit
The engine room
Ring 1: Office circle
The upper floor equal numbers. Government and Ministry of Defence
The upper floor odd numbers. Ministers and the royal family
The basement odd numbers. Ministers and other authorities
The basement equal numbers. Ministry of foreign affairs and Communications
Ring 2 – Residence circle
The upper floor equal numbers. Living room and ministries
The upper floor odd numbers. Cafeteria and the bunker of the office commander
Ground floor equal numbers . Ministries
Ground floor odd numbers. Depots and machinist
The ventilation system
The secondary emergency exits
The close combat defences
Transportation to the facility
7: REGAN VEST in use
Demanding to know
8: REGAN EAST
The Cold War from the sixties to the seventies
The construction of REGAN EAST
9: Danish NATO static war headquarter
10: In hibernation