As part of the network activities, three familiarisation visits were organized in 2019 and 2020. During these visits, an AWE delegation consisting of members of the steering committee and those directly involved became acquainted with board members and volunteers from organizations that manage Atlantic Wall sites or related war museums.
If possible, guided tours were held and AWE's objectives and principles were explained. Furthermore, the visits were dominated by personal acquaintance and information exchange, also with a view to future cooperation and participation in the AWE network and the European Bunker Day.
Germany and Denmark
The first multi-day visit was to Germany and Denmark in September 2019. In Germany, bunker museums in Emden and Wilhelmshafen were visited, Denkort Bunker Valentin in Bremen, the former prisoner of war camp Lager Sandbostel and the Energie Bunker in Hamburg. In Denmark, among others, Museum Tirpitz in Blavand, Sea War Museum Jutland in Thyborøn, Hanstholm Bunkermuseet, Hirsthals Bunkermuseet, Bangsbo Fortmuseet in Frederikshaven and the POW camp Fröslev and the Froslevlejrens Museum in Padborg were paid a visit.
The second familiarisation visit was to Normandy in January 2020. The program included visits to Site fortifié Hillman in Colleville, Batteries du Mont Canisy near Deauville, the German hospital bunker in Le Havre, the Mammuth radar site Cap Fagnet in Fécamp, the Dieppe Jubilee museum Le Mémorial du 19 août 1942, and some bunker sites near the Somme estuary.
Originally, a second tour of locations in France was planned, as well as introductory visits to Jersey, Norway and the Netherlands. However, due to the restrictive measures related to COVID-19, these visits did not take place, but took the form of a webinar presentation.