Relics of the Cold War: A Photography Exhibition in Berlin

Even though the Cold War ended more than 25 years ago, you can see remains of it everywhere. The Berlin Wall, the most famous symbol of it, is easily found around Berlin but this is not the only relic that still stands and Martin Roemers is here to show us those decaying testaments of a world that doesn’t exist anymore.

For those of you that might be too young to remember, the Cold War wasn’t a proper war. It was a state of military and political tension between the Soviet Union and the United States. Everything started happening after the end of the Second World War and this is one of the many reasons why Berlin was split for so many years and why there was a Vietnam and a Korean war. Putting this war into dates is not simple but most historians agree that it lasted from 1947 to 1991, when the Soviet Union came to an end.

Relics of the Cold War: Bunker in the Baltic Sea, Latvia

Because of this state of tension, both sides built structures for this war that never happened. There are underground tunnels, bunkers, former barracks, rotting tanks, decaying monuments and abandoned control centers and border points. These are some of the relics that are still there and these were the places that dutch photographer Martin Roemers decided to document. He tracked down and took pictures in Great Britain, the Netherlands and Belgium from the West Side; Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Latvia and Lithuania from the former Eastern bloc; and, both part of an once split Germany.

The pictures being shown at the Deutsches Historisches Museum gives us a historical context to everything that happened back then. You can see how the arms race gave birth to a nuclear age, how defensives measures were setup for an eventual third world war that never happened and how technology and intelligence services were put in place to spy on the other side.

Since we really enjoy history, photography and urban exploration, Relics of the Cold War was a great exhibition. The pictures from Martin Roemers show a world that doesn’t exist anymore and, since he has been doing this project for more than 10 years, the pictures there are from before those places were found by vandals and covered with graffiti. Also, it was nice to go there and find new places to explore. You can expect some new urban exploration articles in the future because of this.

Martin Roemers is an award winning photographer, born in Oldehove back in 1962. You can see his pictures between March 4th to August 14 at the Deutsches Historisches Museum here in Berlin. Admission to the exhibition is free for those who are under 18 years old and for the rest, it costs €8 and gives you access to the entire museum.

From March 4th to August 14, 2016 at the Deutsches Historisches Museum
 Unter den Linden 2, 10117 — Berlin

Originally published at on March 23, 2016.