From Hilversum to Rotterdam
Thursday 21 May 2020 was Ascension Day and a public holiday. The weather was nice, and Laurence and René made a trip from Hilversum to Rotterdam and along the North Sea coast of South Holland and North Holland to Texel. Laurence would like to see the harbour of Rotterdam, so we included that in the itinerary. We filed a flight plan from Hilversum to make a stop at Rotterdam airport.
A flight plan to or from a controlled airport is mandatory in the Netherlands. For Rotterdam also handling is mandatory, but this could be provided by the local aeroclub Vliegclub Rotterdam to light GA traffic for recreational purposes. We also filed the flight plan from Rotterdam to Texel to avoid waiting for an hour at Rotterdam, without food or coffee facilities open due to the coronavirus. Flight plans must be submitted at least 60 minutes prior to departure.
North and South Holland (in orange) shown together within the Netherlands
At Hilversum airfield we filled-up the plane, and then taxied out to runway 13 for departure. We had to wait for a few minutes for an aerotow plane and glider preparing for take-off. The grass strip 13-31 was replaced a bit to the south to the edge of the airfield, and there was no room anymore for the tow-plane and gliders to depart from the south side of the strip. So they needed to depart north of the grass strip, between the run-up area and the runway.
After the tow-plane with glider had departed, we lined-up runway 13 for departure. We left the traffic pattern to the Loosdrechtse plassen, west of Hilversum airfield.
On the way to Rotterdam we passed Castle De Haar, Woerden and Gouda. We requested a route from Gouda to Krimpen aan de IJssel, and then along the River Nieuwe Maas to the Maasvlakte, the most western port of the harbour of Rotterdam.
Take-off runway 13 Hilversum airfield
At the Maasvlakte are we turned around to Hoek van Holland for the Hotel Arrival to Rotterdam airport. We passed the Westland region. The Westland region is well known for its horticulture in glasshouses, hence its nickname the glass city.
When we approached the airport, we were number two to land behind a Dassault Falcon 8X that arrived from London Stansted airport. After landing we taxied to the Vliegclub Rotterdam.
Final runway 06 Rotterdam airport
The Port of Rotterdam is the largest seaport in Europe. It stretches over a distance of 40 kilometres from Rotterdam center to the reclaimed Maasvlakte area, which projects into the North Sea. Europoort is an area of the Port of Rotterdam. The Europoort area is heavily industrialised with petrochemical refineries and storage tanks, bulk iron ore and coal handling as well as container and new motor vehicle terminals.
Rene at Rotterdam airport
Laurence at the Vliegclub Rotterdam
From Rotterdam to Texel
There was no coffee or refreshments available at the aeroclub due to the circumstances, but at least there was a water cooler. We had a water, and after paying the handling charges we went back to the plane for the flight to Texel. We contacted Delivery for the start-up, and requested a (non-standard) departure to Delft. Next was Rotterdam Tower for taxi and the take-off from runway 06.
Over Delft we made half an orbit before we continued further in the direction of The Hague. The Hague and the area north-east of The Hague is in a prohibited area. We followed the railroad to Leiden which forms the border of the prohibited are, and at Leiden we had a look to the old centre before continuing to Noordwijk along the North Sea coast.
Departure from runway 06 Rotterdam airport
Delft has been officially a city since 1246 when the Dutch Earl William II granted it a city franchise. The new city began to grow and by 1355 grew to the size it would maintain until the 19th century.
Delft has long been associated with the House of Orange, and during the Eighty Years' War, the city served as a headquarters for the Dutch resistance. When William of Orange was shot dead by Balthazar Gerards, in 1584, the family chose to bury him in Delft due to the fact that the Spanish occupied their traditional burial place. Due to this burial, the House of Orange began a new tradition and Delft has become the official burial place for the family.
The Nieuwe Kerk is a Protestant church which was built in 1496. The church is known for being the royal burial chamber. Prince William the Silent was the first to be buried here. It is possible to climb the 109 m tower to get an impressive view of Delft and surroundings. It is the second highest church tower in The Netherlands, after the Domtoren church of Utrecht.
The Oude Kerk is Delft's oldest church and was built in 1246. Founded as St. Bartholomew's Church, the Old Church is one of the Netherlands' most beautiful churches. It is the final resting place of a lot of famous Dutchmen like Piet Hein, Maerten Tromp and Johannes Vermeer. The massive bell in the tower (cast in 1570) weighs nearly nine tonnes, and is only rung during disasters or during the burial of a member of the royal family.
The City Hall in Delft is a Renaissance style building on the Markt across from the Nieuwe Kerk. Although the City Hall has changed over the years, it was finally restored to its former glory at the end of the 19th century. The Markt is one of the largest historic market squares in Europe. The rectangular Markt was first paved in the late 15th century.
Beach during the Coronavirus period
The Hague is the capital of the province of South Holland, and is also the seat of government of the Netherlands. The Hague was founded by the last counts of the House of Holland. The Ridderzaal (Hall of Knights) is the main building of the 13th century inner square of the former castle of the counts of Holland.
Dutch Mil Info was out of order, and after leaving the Amsterdam Info region of responsibility we contacted De Kooy Tower for crossing the CTR. We had to cross at 500ft along the coast because of other traffic departing from De Kooy. When we left the CTR we contacted Texel Radio for landing information. Ed told us runway 22 was in use, but that he was looking to perhaps shift to runway 04 because of the wind. When we reached the left-hand downwind for runway 22, Ed asked us to change to runway 04. We landed on runway 04.
When we walked to the airport buildings, we noticed a familiar airplane. It was the Piper Archer D-ELQC from the aeroclub in Germany that we also have flown many times. The German pilot and his family (we assume) were not very talkative, and we continued to the restaurant to order something to eat and drink outside the restaurant.
René at Texel airfield
Waiting for the lunch at Texel airfield
From Texel to Hilversum
After we had half eaten the luch – only hamburger, fries and kroket or frikandel were on the menu – we walked to the plane for the third leg of the day, back to Hilversum. We took-off from runway 04, and then set course over the Waddenzee to the province of Friesland. We made pictures of Workum, Hindeloopen and Stavoren to complete the set of pictures of the eleven cities of Friesland.
The Elfstedentocht (
Eleven Cities Tour) is a 200-kilometer (135 miles) outdoor speedskating race over the frozen canals that connect the 11 cities in the Friesland province.
It only happens when the ice is sufficiently thick, at least 15 centimeters in depth throughout.
There has not been an Elfstedentocht since 1997, marking the longest drought ever between races.
With global temperatures trending upward, some wonder whether conditions will ever again be right for the race.
After Stavoren we set course to the Noordoostpolder (North East polder), where we passed the former island of Urk. Nowadays it is only a political far-right island. We flew along the west coast of the Flevoland polder, passing the Batavia replica ship at Lelystad, and the small Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve between Lelystand and Almere. We made a small detour over Bussum, and then we landed on runway 18 of Hilversum airfield, ending the trip.
Laurence cleaning the plane
René filling out the paperwork