Anden Verdenskrig

The Aarhus Region Under German Occupation – Stories from World War II

Photo: Besættelsesmuseet

If you have an interest i the dramatic accounts of events that happened during World War II, you will want to visit the Aarhus region! Here, you get to experience anything from massive bunker systems, radar towers and gun emplacements to exciting museums and evocative monuments! 

German Headquarters

During World War II, Denmark was occupied by Nazi Germany from 1940 to 1945. This was an unstable and dramatic time filled with complex political dilemmas, liquidations, bombings, rationing, sabotage and executions.

Across the Aarhus Region, you come across reminiscences of the five years of occupation, and a very special experience awaits you by Art Centre Silkeborg Bad. The area played quite a significant role during the occupation, as it served as headquarters for the German general staff from 1943-45.

This is the reason why you will come across a number of German bunkers in the stunning scenery near Ørnsø lake by the old spa resort. Here, Silkeborg Bunker Museum tells the nerve-racking story in extremely life-like surroundings! 

Photo: Per Bille

Resistance and Omelette

In Hvidsten just north of Randers, not only will you find the old and idyllic inn Hvidsten Kro, but also the haunt of one of Denmark’s most well-known resistance cells – The Hvidsten Resistance Group Hvidstengruppen.

The group consisted of inn-owner Marius Fiil and a number of people from his family and circle of friends. Quite near the inn, they received weapons, explosives and Danish agents serving Britain who were dropped from English airplanes. In 1944, the group was disclosed by Germany’s secret police, Gestapo, and eight male members including the inn-owner were executed.

Even today, the inn is run by members of the Fiil family, and the tragic story of Hvidstengruppen is on display at the small museum there.

Should you get peckish, the inn’s famous bacon omelette tastes like a veritable piece of heaven when you enjoy it in the historical surroundings.

Tyskertårnet at Helgenæs

You will find yet another reminiscence from World War II on the tip of the peninsula of Helgenæs near Sletterhage Fyr lighthouse. On top of one of the hills, there, a massive German radar tower literally towers up facing the stunning view of the sea. From there, German soldiers were able to surveil air and sea traffic around Aarhus. The walk from the lighthouse and up to the radar tower alone is a spectacular experience, and if you continue along the coastal fortification path, Kystbefæstningsstien, you will come across the remains of two German gun emplacements which were supposed to have been mounted with cannons covering a shooting range of 15 km. However, the guns never made it onto the emplacements, but even today, it is possible to see the big concrete structures made ready for them.

Photo: Sebastian Nils

Bomb Explosions and the Occupation Museum

Being the most populous city in the region, Aarhus oozes of dramatic tales from World War II. The city saw air raids, liquidations and several terrorist attacks, in which large parts of Guldsmedgade and Aarhus theatre were destroyed.

At the Occupation Museum established in what used to be Gestapo’s Aarhus headquarters, you get to hear the dramatic story of Aarhus during the occupation. History comes to life when you follow in the footsteps of freedom fighters, German soldiers and simply ordinary citizens of Aarhus, and here, you will learn about the many moral dilemmas of warfare.

Furthermore, you can visit the claustrophobic jail cells where prisoners used to be tortured, be interrogated by a gruff Gestapo officer and see the incredible sight of the many weapons and artefacts dating back to World War II! Go round the Aarhus region and immerse yourself in the many exciting reminiscences from the war and learn about the countless captivating stories still alive from the occupation.

Photo: Besættelsesmuseet

Go on a tour in the Aarhus region and immerse yourself in the exciting and thought-provoking traces of the war, and gain insight into the touching stories of the occupation period.

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