Kootwijkerzand / Radio Kootwijk

If you ask a random person to describe the Dutch countryside, 99 times out of 100 they will mention cows in a field that is so flat, you could play snooker on it. I used to live on the Veluwe, a forest-rich ridge of hills in the province of Gelderland. This is where the place the polar ice sheets stopped during the Saale Ice Age before retreating and leaving the deposits behind.

To me, the fields with cows are just as foreign as to you. One of the most interesting places around where I grew up was Kootwijkerzand, a 7km2 large area of sand dunes and Scots Pines. The area was lucky enough to be too poor to be turned into grasslands and it stayed like it was since the Ice Age for a long time. Unfortunately, due to the larger amounts of nitrogen in the atmosphere due to the increased traffic, the previously infertile dunes now can sustain mosses and trees which are now cut back regularly to keep the unique landscape.

It was this empty area that the authorities picked as the location to build the huge radio station to keep in contact with the colonies in 1922. I do remember the huge aerial on the roof which was torn down in 1980.

For a map of the location, click here.

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