Dicht bij de mens, dicht bij de natuur
Cannerberg, an extraordinary nature reserve with a unique underground story
The “Cannerberg” is a hill nearby the city of Maastricht. It has several man-made underground limestone quarries. The most important quarries are “Kasteelgroeve” (named after Château (Castle) Neercanne), “Muizenberg” (partially located in Belgium), “Valberg” (including the “Jezuïtenberg”) and “Boschberg”. In 1944, around 2000 people worked in the latter on a secret German location for the construction of V1 flying bombs.
Cold War period 1954-1993
From 1954, the former Ministry of War rented quarry “Boschberg” from Stichting het Limburgs Landschap for a period of 50 years. In 1955, the NATO put up an interim war headquarters: ‘a temporary site to be used only in war”. From 17 February 1956, the headquarters received the status “top secret”. As a result of the Iron Curtain, the bunker was, even in time of peace, permanently military manned (24/7 all year round) from 1 July 1963 onwards. This commando consisted of Dutch, British, Belgian, German and American army units from the north of west Germany. The centre also provided the flight control covering an area from Norway to Italy. After the NATO left the quarry in 1992, it became notorious for the huge amounts of asbestos used as isolation material. The whole subterranean complex was stripped and cleaned thoroughly. What’s left now is the ruin of this exceptional complex. During the tour, visitors will discover this extraordinary story.