Chernobyl is a subject that is close to many individuals hearts around the world – and one of the amazing things about the zone today is how it does attract so many people from so many countries, who all develop a special connection with the zone.
One of the things that I love to see is different people getting a tattoo with a zone theme. This post is a collection of people from all over the world who have been kind enough to share their ink and their story with us.
Johanna Stiller 🇩🇪
I am Johanna and I am 22 years old.
I’ve been spending a lot of time in the zone since 2016.
Ukraine and the exclusion zone have become my second home. Once you’ve fallen in love with her, she won’t let you go. My Chernobyl tattoos are therefore very important to me as they always remind me of the zone and also serve as a memorial to the firefighters.
For the most part, my own photos were recreated and tattooed onto my skin here.
Maryna Dymshyts 🇺🇦
Screenwriter, director and editor, HFBK Hamburg.
Since 2016, I have been illegally visiting the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in search of an outlet and inspiration. I conduct my trips in the form of a video vlog on my YouTube channel.
If you google my name, you will see several articles about my professional activity and about stalking, for example here.
Kristina Kunelyte 🇱🇹
I’m Kristina from Lithuania. I’ve been to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone 4 times now – 2 times legally and 2 times illegally as a Stalker. I have also visited the Belarusian side of the zone.
I came up with this tattoo idea after my first illegal trip to Chernobyl, because I wanted to have something to remind me of that amazing trip that was full of adrenaline.
I like it because it’s minimalistic and people who know nothing about the zone don’t understand it, that’s the beauty of it.
I have more ideas how to expand my tattoo this year, but I’m saving this for later. You can find me on instagram and see more photos of me and my trips: @horny_hooligan.
Pawel Wojnowski 🇵🇱
I’m Pawel Wojnowski from Poland, for a few years now I live in the UK.
I have been interested in Chernobyl for many years, and since playing Call of Duty Modern Warfare and Stalker, I dreamed of going there.
I have visited the Zone four times so far, including celebrating New Year there. A tattoo with the Chernobyl motif has been planned for a long time. It was done by Tabasco Ink in Liverpool, UK
I am interested in abandoned places, and I will probably return to Chernobyl in future.
There were many items of inspiration for a Chernobyl tattoo – cover of the book Chernobyl: Confessions of a Reporter by Igor Kostin, the famous ferris wheel, photos of the liquidators.
Daniel Kuttnigg 🇦🇹
I have traveled to more than a quarter of the world’s countries but one destination still stands out …Since my visit to the death zone (October 2016) I couldn’t get rid of this topic and “had” to be immortalized under my skin.
Since 2008 I have been interested in the Chernobyl disaster.
I have read all possible books in Spanish and in 2018 I traveled with my wife to the area.
The experience was incredible and because of this, I decided to get a tattoo designed by me in memory of the liquidators and their great work.
My tattoo was inspired by Igor kostin (Great journalist for me).
Wojciech Bucikiewicz 🇵🇱
My first visit was in 2010.
I can’t explain what is going on with Chernobyl. I love that place no matter what, peace, calm history.
Main focus was to visit Chernobyl year by year, but you know it’s not possible because sometimes there is some difficulties, such as pandemic, weather, other cases.
My tattoos were made for people who died there, it’s really brave to save people’s lives and not thinking just about your own. I have big respect for people like this.
Nataly Tereshchenko 🇺🇦
My traction to the Chernobyl Zone has started from the well-known game STALKER. I was a kid when I tried it, and from that time absolutely unconsciously I searched for games with the same motive without any clue why that is so interesting for me.
But then I got the point. I was searching not for new shooting games but for more things which are related to the topic of Chernobyl. Because I fell in love exactly with the idea of the stalker game – Chernobyl world.
When I clearly got it, I started to dig the information about the Chernobyl catastrophe in details. All this came from my huge curiosity to compare the game locations to the reality. How it is to be in Chernobyl in real life. But I was underaged for that time, so I was forced to wait to have my chance to visit Chernobyl.
With all these years later I only accumulated my passion, interest and wish to meet the zone. And when I finally got that chance to do this, I received not the best experience of tour with huge group of people and lack of time to see all I wanted.
And then I was inspired by people who call themselves stalkers in reality – illegal visitors of the zone, who can do whatever they want. So, I made my choice which was absolutely not typical for me – explore Chernobyl zone illegally.
It was awesome experience which was worth it but has also lots of disadvantages. After all this emotions and knowledge that I collected through these years, the bright idea appeared in my head – I should become a tour-guide who I wanted to have at my first time of visiting Chernobyl zone.
I should be that tour-guide who will be able to show the real Chernobyl world as great as people expect it! And now I have done it. What I can say … the inimitable feeling of gratitude from people whose dream came true with my help is so incredible. It is so emotional for me to realise that there are more and more happier people in this world because I could give them what they wanted – Chernobyl world in its all size. It is my way how I can help people.
I made this small tattoo which has huge sense for me. I find it as my perfect way of expression of my respect and memory to Chernobyl history. 1986 – that is fatal year of humanity history. From that time the Chernobyl story began. And now I have the possibility to participate in modern Chernobyl history, to be a part of it and share it with all the world!
Saskia Fritzen 🇩🇪
I’m Saskia and I’m 23 years old.
I have been fascinated by Chernobyl since I was a little girl. We have something like Discovery channel in Germany (N24/NTV but better quality and more fact based :D) which always had lots of reports about Chernobyl. Guess who had to go there because of this.
Before my visit I actually tried to find out as much as possible to know exactly what I’m heading into.
After my visit in 2019 I created a blog about my experience in Chernobyl and Ukraine including a collab with “Clean Futures Fund” for spreading awareness of the Chernobyl Liquidators and people nowadays being affected by the accident: http://chernobyl-awareness.com/
Chernobyl more and more turned into a hobby. Others would say an obsession.
That’s why I got a Chernobyl tattoo in 2020.
And guess what: There is another one to come when tattoo shops in the Netherlands can open again. (I am German, but I live in the Netherlands)
The fact that Chernobyl made it under my skin really means that Chernobyl and Ukraine have a spot in my heart. The way people are dealing with it is unbelievable. I never had so much respect for anything else!
Lode Noppe 🇧🇪
I’m Lode 35 years old, from Belgium.
My inspiration about Chernobyl started around 8 years ago on the internet. (photo’s, interviews, Discovery Channel etc.) and even in that time i was looking for a company who can make my visit come true… I only found only travel agents, but i wanted a face to face contact … in 2017 I found a company in Antwerp (Belgium) who made my visit become a reality… I made an arrangement for 3 days in Ukraine, 1 day in Chernobyl, 2 days in Kyiv in a hotel on the central square (Hotel Ukraine)… and I bought a lot in that underground mall (Globus) 🙂 🙂 . In 2019 I made another arrangement for 5 days. And in 2021 I want to come back again if the Government give us green light.
Charlie Tango 🏴
I’m Charlie Tango, founder of Contamination Zone.
I have been photographing the Chernobyl Zone for many years, working with different companies before starting the Contamination Zone non-profit project.
I had always been reluctant to get a tattoo – because this stuff is pretty permanent. However, I got mine at short notice after the fantastic Chernobyl guide Elisabeth Taivas told me she had some free time the next day before I had to get a flight to Odessa.
I decided to get this tattoo because Elisabeth knows the style that I like, and the zone has been such a big part of my life for so many years now that there is no other subject I could even consider for ink.
Since you’re here…
Contamination Zone is a group of people who are united by our love for the Chernobyl Zone. We are a non-profit organisation and every year we raise thousands of euros for good causes in the Chernobyl Zone, such as firefighting equipment, monument restoration, animal welfare and more.