Ongekend Nijmegen – Unknown Nijmegen
In the month of October 2022, the city of Nijmegen revealed stories unknown to the public in commemoration of WWII. The project Ongekend Nijmegen appointed 10 different heritage sites to artists so they could tell the stories of the locations. The month of October was dedicated as the Month of History and designer Paul Hulsebosch was asked to tell the story of a hidden bunker.
In 2015 two citizens of Nijmegen noticed an embrasure on the side of a hill. It was located at the highest vantage point of the local park Valkhofheuvel. As they lowered in a drone through the opening, they discovered a space and coincidently the history of the space. They rediscovered an old Nazi bunker built in 1943. It was the only remaining bunker in Nijmegen that had an important role against the allies during the operation Market Garden. As of today, the bunker is open to the public and speaks of the forgotten and hidden story of the Valkhofbunker.
The story of the bunker as well as the discovery of it many years later captured my imagination. The contrast between the use of the bunker in peacetime and during wartime was something I wanted to showcase. I replicated the story of the hidden bunker in the park through the medium of stop-motion animation as it emphasizes different experiences of time passing by. Reflecting on how much time went by as the bunker became forgotten as it became a place of peace and wonder considering its impressive vantage point. And how time went by tortuously slow from the point of view of the soldiers as they watched and experienced the horrors of war from their viewpoint. The stop-motion was displayed at the Valkenhofbunker and several museums in Nijmegen during the Month of History.