Federal Property Administration Department decides on the further use
of the former alternative quarters of the Federal constitutional organs
On December 9, 1997, the Federal cabinet decided to abandon the former alternative quarters of the Federal constitutional organs built in order to shelter all Federal constitutional organs in case of crisis or for defence purposes. The concentration of all constitutional organs in one comprehensively protected structure was intended to ensure that the government leadership maintained its full capacity to take action. The responsibility for the decision as to the further use of this property, which is unique in the Federal Republic in terms of its purpose and architecture, has since been transferred to the Federal Property Administration Department.
After joining NATO in the late 1950s, the necessity arose for the young Federal Republic to construct a shelter for the government and the other constitutional organs. It was finally decided to use the abandoned tunnel in the Ahr valley. The topographic situation there offered various advantages for the plan. In particular, the fact that the tunnel is covered by slate rock up to 112 metres high and the spaciousness of the tube offered the best protection against all kinds of attack of all sort, possible nuclear bombing included. Its length and its division into independent segments made the tunnel system a target which would be difficult to attack and destroy. The former alternative quarters of the Federal constitutional organs were thus built in the valley of the Ahr between 1960 and 1972. Apart from the architecture of the structure, the concentrated quartering of all constitutional organs in one place in case of crisis is unique throughout the world. Until the decision was taken to close it down, the structure was kept top secret.
The two parts of the tunnel labelled East and West are again divided into five autonomous segments, two of these being in the eastern part and three in the western part of the system. In most areas of the main gallery, false ceilings have been installed. On the ground floor a total of 897 rooms can be used as offices and conference rooms, covering 12.,600 m² of floorspace. On the upper floor there are 936 bedrooms covering 13,600 m² of floorspace, together with washrooms. The fixtures and fittings are very spartan. Offices and work rooms, quarters and furniture are simple and functional. Even for the leading representatives of the state there are only camp beds. The structure can at best be compared to a huge underground barracks. Each of the five autonomous and independently operational segments is equipped with technical installations to make life and survival possible within the structure. The amenities are best described by breaking the services down into the four elements of air, water, fire and earth..
Finally, the site also includes a number of external buildings: protective structures above the air evacuation and supply shafts, above the emergency exits, the aerial fields or the external fuel tanks.
The most recent efforts of the Karlsruhe Inland Revenue Office to sell the former government bunker in the Ahr Valley again failed to produce concrete results. The bunker will therefore be partly demolished and sealed. According to current estimates the cost be around 60 millions DM's.