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Switzerland. The country where bunkers are more than people

In Switzerland, every house built after the Second World War is equipped with a personal bunker.

Switzerland. The country where bunkers are more than people

An idyll reigns in the Zurkinden family home near Friborg. Lillian Zurkinden makes coffee and plays with the poodle Merlin. At the same time, her son Francois kindly shows us their bunker in the basement of the modern family house. His armored door weighs almost a ton. The door is installed during construction, but in the beginning it was only a steel frame, in which concrete was later poured.

The armored door closes with two heavy levers. Attached to the door is a huge yellow wrench and a device with which the door must be able to open centimeter by centimeter - in case debris blocks the exit after an attack.

 The bunker of the Zurkinden family can accommodate 13 people, who can spend up to two weeks there. In addition to multi-storey camp beds, Swiss law requires that each bunker have a toilet and ventilation.

 Bunkers like the Zurkinden family are found in almost all Swiss houses built after the Second World War. It used to be mandatory to build, no matter how big the property. Shelters are designed to protect people from all kinds of weapons, including biological ones. There are over 9 million bunkers in the country - more than the people of Switzerland.

 Special companies regularly check that bomb shelters are still operational. People who do not have a personal bunker pay a special fee for a place in a bomb shelter, and this fee is used to keep them in good condition.

 The Swiss use their bunkers as cellars to store wine, marmalade or ski equipment, and this is no problem. The rule is: the bunker must be able to be prepared within 5 days with sleeping places and everything else you need.

 The construction and maintenance of bunkers is quite expensive by law, so in recent decades many Swiss have wondered if it makes sense to keep them. Many have wondered: what is the point of surviving a nuclear catastrophe in a bunker once the world they want to live in is gone?

 But since February this year, however, many Swiss have been happy to have their own bunker. Lillian Zurkinden is also pleased that if the worst happens, she will be able to seek refuge in her personal bunker. She hopes she doesn't have to use it, but it's enough to know she has a safe place to hide.


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