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The mountain is coming to Netherlands?

By Jesse Wieten (Xinhua)

10:54, August 12, 2011

THE HAGUE, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- It started as a joke, and is still viewed by many in the same way. But Thijs Zonneveld surely take his plan to make a mountain in the Netherlands seriously.

The idea is to build a 2,000-meter mountain in the low-lying geography of Netherlands, so that millions of Dutch people could ski, hike and climb without trekking long distances, according to Zonneveld, a former professional cyclist who initiated the plan recently.

"We have always been the country known for building dykes and polders. Why not make a mountain?" said Zonneveld.

"I spoke about this fantasy already years ago with friends," the now 30-year-old journalist said, "This summer I visited the Tour de France and I was on the famous Alpe d'Huez. Thousands of Dutch cycling fans occupied this mountain during the Tour stage."

"Instead of all the Dutch people going to the mountain, the mountain could come to us," he said.

The idea of an artificial mountain in the Netherlands is not new. In 2004, Dutch journalist Peter Hendriks proposed to create a mountain area in the whole province of Flevoland, but the idea was not followed by serious plans.

A similar plan to build a mountain on the site of the former Tempelhof airport near Berlin was proposed by architect Jakob Tigges, but eventually failed to stand out.

Two weeks ago Zonneveld wrote a column for a popular Dutch news portal, in which he proposed to build "an Alp" in the low Netherlands.

According to Zonneveld, a favorable location for the man-made mountain would be the province of Flevoland, which was itself artificially created by the Dutch only last century by reclaiming land from the sea.

To his surprise, the column received more than expected feedbacks, including many serious ones, Zonneveld said.

"Now we are investigating the possibilities. There are serious plans in the making, it becomes more than a joke. Geologists are already thinking about the material, architects are making scale models, municipalities have already expressed their interest, developers want to build."

"(Once completed,) the Dutch will no longer have to travel hours to get to the mountains abroad," he said. "With such a mountain the Netherlands can easily organize the Winter Olympics."

"The commercial possibilities are endless. You can indeed commercially exploit a mountain. I am thinking of project development and restaurants for example. You can make a ski piste, a river for rafting, a speed skating track on top, a true climbing wall, a road with hairpin bends for cycling. You name it," he added.

But even Zonneveld had to admit the plan was still too much of a "fantasy" now.

The idea of a Dutch mountain is one step, but implementation is another story. Experts are currently working on the technical possibilities, according to Zonneveld.

"We have to take 100,000 steps to make it reality still, but it is nice to see that a serious discussion has started," he said.

"I am now working to assemble a team of engineers, architects, financial economists and other specialists to lift the plan to a higher level," concluded Zonneveld.

"Imagine the bizarrely beautiful view from the mountain. It will take years, but it would be very cool if the construction would really start sometime," he said.


Leave your comment4 comments

  1. Name

Sanne at 2011-11-2384.26.213.*
It just seems so childish and fake.
gerry at 2011-09-0290.220.90.*
Im behind them 101%, i hate that people will constantly say it cant be done, this will capture the worlds imagination by saying "i dont care what you think, i think we can achieve anything" egyptians were building massive pyramids 5000 years ago, its about time we stood up and say look what we can do now!
Francesco at 2011-08-31151.74.90.*
I live in an awesome mountain area in Sicily, called the Nebrodi mountains. The useless italian old corrupted wreckin" government, totally absent, and seen alomst as an enemy for us could leave, an we can become the first dutch mediterranean territory. And the first REAL dutch mountains.I think givin some compensation to the italian government to walk out on would cost less than a artificial one in Flevoland, and the local population can decide this option with a plebiscite. At this point all dutch people who wish to invest in a mountain house can do it, and they would get it for no price, least at the beginning, definitely boosting local economics, and make somehow possible to dutch people goin" to mountain in the Netherlands!Utopian perhaps, but i really would go for that!
Laurens at 2011-08-1287.213.48.*
Let's GO FOR IT!

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