Possible bomb discovery
Information and background

Possible bomb disposal operation on April 8, 2024

On Monday, April 8, 2024, the City of Bonn authorities will be investigating the possible site of a Second World War bomb in Bonn-Poppelsdorf, specifically beneath the junction of Wegelerstraße, Beringstraße and Kreuzbergweg. If the presence of a bomb is suspected, a disposal operation will be organized without delay, requiring extensive evacuation measures that would affect large parts of the Poppelsdorf Campus. The link below takes you to a map showing the areas that would potentially need to be evacuated.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The drilling carried out at the Poppelsdorf campus to check two suspected unexploded bombs has been completed. Fortunately, no evidence of an unexploded bomb was found. Therefore, no evacuation is necessary.

Normal on-site teaching operations will resume tomorrow on Thursday. All employees are invited to return to their workplaces on Wednesday.

We thank you for your understanding and prudence in this unusual situation.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

The previously announced drilling operation for confirming the possible site of a Second World War bomb beneath the junction of Wegelerstraße, Beringstraße and Kreuzbergweg began on Monday. The operation had to be interrupted when an uncharted underground cable was found, and was continued today, but, unfortunately, could not be completed. The suspected presence of a bomb thus cannot be ruled out yet.

In consultation with the deans of the faculties affected, University management has therefore decided the following:

1)     Courses due to take place in the areas affected by a potential evacuation are to be moved online tomorrow (Wednesday) as well so as to avoid sizable groups of people being present in those areas if and when an evacuation is ultimately ordered.

2)     Staff based in the areas affected are to take advantage of the option of working from home in accordance with the extended regulations on mobile working as described in the previous circular (Circular 2024/12).

3)     For laboratory work, please continue to ensure that experiments can be interrupted without delay and remain unsupervised for an extended period of time if an oder to evacuate is given.

We will keep you updated on a possible evacuation or an all-clear via our newsticker on the Internet and via the mailing list set up specifically for this event, which everyone interested is still welcome to sign up to.


Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Michael Hoch                                Holger Gottschalk

Rector of the University of Bonn                             Provost of the University of Bonn

The work is apparently continuing well.
If it stays that way, there will be the first official news from the experts in the afternoon.


Monday, April 8, 2024

During the drilling work, the specialist company came across an undocumented cable duct with a high-voltage line. This had to be carefully uncovered. This is causing delays. The drilling work will therefore probably not continue until tomorrow, Tuesday morning.

The specialist company has started drilling. A total of 37 are planned to probe at a depth of up to 8 metres. This can take all day. The drillings are tricky due to the many pipes that are present there. The work is carried out with little vibration. The drill teeth are rounded so as not to damage possible finds.

The employees of the Düsseldorf district government came across the potential unexploded bomb while analysing old maps. The reason for this was sewer renovation work in Wegelerstraße. This also involved the use of 3D models in which the depressions of impact sites were analysed. The position of the possible find was then analysed using GPS.

Despite the investigation, everyday university life continues as normal at many locations. The semester starts on Monday. The campus canteen on Endenicher Allee will also remain open - it is just outside the possible radius should a potential unexploded bomb be defused.

Good morning! The specialist company's exploration team has arrived from Düren and is preparing the drilling.

Legacy of the war

During the Second World War, thousands of bombs were dropped by the Allies over Bonn and other German cities. Not all the projectiles exploded. Even after the end of the war, not all the bombs could be found. Some shells remain in the ground to this day as so-called "duds" (German: “Blindgänger”).

The City of Bonn suspects that one such unexploded bomb is located under the crossroads in the Poppelsdorf university quarter. Clarification is to be provided by a specialist company, which will carry out soundings on April 8. If no evidence of a world war bomb is found, the all-clear will be given immediately.

However, if the suspicion is confirmed, the World War II bomb will be uncovered and a decision taken on further measures. In the worst-case scenario, all buildings within a radius of 500 meters will have to be evacuated. This roughly corresponds to an area surrounded by Quantiusstraße, Poppelsdorfer Allee, the 565 federal highway and Endenicher Allee. For lighter explosive ordnance, "only" a radius of 300 meters would have to be evacuated (see illustration below).

Forschungs-und Technologiezentrum Detektorphysik
The unexploded bomb is suspected to be under the road in front of the new building of the Research and Technology Center for Detector Physics (left). © Photo: Andreas Archut/University of Bonn

Stay informed!

The University has set up a mailing list for its members so that we can keep you informed about current developments. However, it does not replace the official communication from the City of Bonn regarding evacuation measures. Important: You will receive a request to evacuate from the authorities (e.g. via loudspeaker announcements).

Preparing for a possible evacuation

April 8 is the first day of the lecture period of the summer semester and also the school day after the Easter break. Nevertheless, the City of Bonn has set this date due to the limited availability of the specialist service provider it has commissioned.

Due to the large-scale lockdown, restrictions on public and private transport are to be expected. For this reason, the University management and the faculties affected have decided to move or postpone courses in this area to digital on April 8 and 9 as a precautionary measure. The aim is to avoid sizable groups of University members being present in the affected area if and when an evacuation is ultimately ordered.

Experiments and laboratory activities should be prepared in advance in such a way that they can be interrupted and terminated immediately or, if this is not possible at short notice, can remain unattended for a longer period of time. The same applies to areas housing animal accommodation.

According to the Federal City of Bonn, an evacuation is not expected to begin until midday on April 8. When defusing will take place and by when it will be completed depends on the nature of any explosive ordnance found on April 8.​

Update 03.04.2024: The Studierendenwerk Bonn has announced that the Campo-Mensa will be open regularly on April 8 and 9 - even during a possible evacuation -, as the building is located outside the 300 and 500 meter zones.

Where is the world war bomb suspected to be?

The World War II bomb is suspected to be in the area of Kreuzbergweg/Wegelerstraße/Beringstraße in front of the Detector Physics Technology Center.

Questions and answers

If an evacuation is ordered by the authorities, everyone must leave the evacuation area immediately. No one may remain there.

As things stand at present, courses in areas that may be affected by an evacuation will be held exclusively online on April 8 and 9 as a precautionary measure or will be postponed. Classroom courses, e.g. laboratory practicals, must be organized in such a way that they can be safely interrupted or terminated if necessary. Details are regulated by the faculties and departments themselves. Lecturers will inform their students of the arrangements made.

As things stand at present, the premises in the evacuation area in question can still be used until Monday noon. Nevertheless, you should prepare any experiments and laboratory work in advance so that they can be interrupted and terminated without any delay whatsoever. Should this not be possible at short notice, the experiments will need to be safeguarded prior to April 8 in such a way that they can remain unsupervised for an extended period of time. The same applies to areas housing animal accommodation.

University employees receive basic information via circulars and their superiors, students via their university e-mail address and from the teaching staff responsible for their course. Further information will be available on the website of the Federal City of Bonn.

In consultation with their line manager, staff based in the areas affected by a potential closure are to be given extensive scope to take advantage of the option of mobile working and thus work from home on April 8 and 9 unless they are unable to do so for urgent operational reasons. They will not need to request approval from Human Resources in writing.

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