In the late 1930s, the Swedish government decided that focus would be on the protection of civilians in time of war. With Prime Minister Per Albin Hansson as the leader, a civilian agency called the Air Protection Inspectorate was formed. The Air Protection Inspectorate was given the responsibility of planning, managing and meeting the need for shelters for the civilian population in Sweden.


Clear regulations are posted at the entrance.

Large shelters

Initially, the focus was on building protection for residents in Stockholm. Construction was based on plans for shelters that could accommodate several thousand people.


A steady door behind the gas block.

The results were shelters called “Johannes shelter” and “Katarinabergets shelter” in central Stockholm. “Katarinabergets shelter” was the world’s first nuclear weapon secure shelter. Inside it was possible to housing up to 20.000 persons at the same time.


Ventilation protecting against gas attack.

Shelters in new buildings

In addition to the huge so-called civil defense rooms, apartment house owners were forced to show a great responsibility to protect the population. At each permission of a new building, the government required a “bomb shelter statement” where the municipality would say how many shelters places that could be needed in connection with the new building.swedish-shelter-5

The builder had to construct and maintain the shelter. The municipality did an inspection and then paid a lump sum compensation for the additional costs caused by the shelter.


Hand operated air pump.

Requirements for shelters

The images we see are from a so-called normal shelter, built in 1955. Required equipment will be the seating, 1 chemical toilet per 25 people and lighting. The space for each person must be at least 0.75 square meters.swedish-shelter-7

In Sweden today approximately 65,000 shelters remain.


Technical data on the hand-operated air pump.


Water tap.

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