From Hilversum to Ursel
Sunday, January 20, 2019, was a beautiful day without clouds, perfect visibility, and it was just below zero degrees celsius. We made a flying trip to Ursel, a military reserve aerodrome in Belgium that can be activated by NOTAM, then over Zeeuws-Vlaanderen to Midden-Zeeland airfield, and then back to Hilversum.
After departure from Hilversum, we headed to the south-west. We passed Slot Zuylen, a castle at the village of Oud-Zuilen along the Vecht river just north of the city of Utrecht. It is built early in the 16th century on the location of a former castle from the 13th century. The castle currently houses the Zuylen collection, a group of objects that provide an overview of the three centuries that the Van Tuyll van Serooskerken family lived in the castle.
René fueling the C172
Passing Slot (castle) Zuylen
Further down the route we passed Rijsoord, a small village south-east of Rotterdam. In a schoolbuilding in Rijsoord the Dutch signed the surrender to the German invaders on 15 May 1940.
The Grevelingendam blocks the inflow of Rhine and Meuse water from the east, and is part of the Delta Works. The Brouwersdam closes off the estuary from the North Sea in the west. A sluice under the Brouwersdam maintains the saline character of the Grevelingen. The Brouwersdam sluice is open all year except during storm floods.
The Philipsdam separates the brackish water of the Osterschelde in the south-west from the freshwater of the Volkerak in the north-east. Sophisticated ship locks in the Philipsdam are designed to avoid the exchange of saltwater and fresh water.
The Delta Works is a series of construction projects in the southwest of the Netherlands to protect a large area of land around the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta from the sea.
The works consist of dams, sluices, locks, dikes, levees, and storm surge barriers. The aim of the dams, sluices, and storm surge barriers was to shorten the Dutch coastline, thus reducing the number of dikes that had to be raised.
After the North Sea flood of 1953, a Delta Works Commission was installed to research the causes and develop measures to prevent such disasters in future. They revised some of the old plans and came up with the "Deltaplan".
The first construction that was completed was the Hollandsche IJsselkering in 1958. The original Deltaplan was completed in 1997 with the Maeslantkering and the Hartelkering.
Kapelle was formed along the banks of a waterway that ran here in the 10th century. It's name comes from a Chapel (Kapel) in one of the settlements that over time formed Kapelle. Kapelle is home to the only French military cemetery in the Netherlands. On 16 May 1940, German and French troops fought a fierce battle nearby. The 65 French soldiers who died that day were buried by Kapelle residents, and the French government established a military cemetery after the war. All the French soldiers killed in the Netherlands during the Second World War are now buried there.
Ursel airfield airfield was established in the 1930s. During the German occupation in WWII the airfield was briefly used by the Italian airforce, and then by the Luftwaffe. Allied forces captured the airfield in September 1944. Around 1955 the airport was broken up. The concrete slabs were partly reused for the construction of the current military reserve aerodrome. Outside military activity, the Ursel aerodrome is given in concession to the two local civil clubs; the Aero Club Brugge and the Vliegclub Ursel.
René at Ursel aerodrome
When we approached Ursel aerodrome, one aircraft in the circuit transmitted a PAN PAN message because of (possible?) engine problems. The aircraft landed safely, and stopped after vacating the runway to inspect the engine. It was towed to the hangars when we departed Ursel. We landed on runway 07, and then taxied to the reporting office/aero club.
From Ursel to Midden-Zeeland
At the Ursel aero club a well visited new year's reception was going on, and we were immediately invited for snacks and drinks as well. We stayed some time for a coffee, and then we left to fly to Midden-Zeeland airfield.
Aardenburg in West-Zeeland-Flanders was already inhabited some 8,000 years ago. During the many excavations, most remains have been from Roman times. Aardenburg was granted city rights in 1127 and is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, and the oldest city in Zealand. Already in 1299 fortifications were built around the city, and the remains are still visible.
Founded around 1280, Sluis received city rights about ten years later. Its strategic location on the shore of the Zwin inlet led it to become a fortified town in 1382. The golden age of Sluis lasted until 1450, when the silting up of the Zwin made shipping impossible. Sluis boasts the only town hall in the Netherlands with a belfry. It stems from the 14th century.
The history of Cadzand-Bad as a bathing resort goes back a long way. It started in 1866 when the Badhuis baths were built. Cadzand is part of the Zwin region, which enjoys the highest density of Michelin-starred properties in the world.
Vlissingen on the former island of Walcheren was granted city rights in 1315. Under Spanish rule, new defences were built around the city. In the 17th century Vlissingen was a main harbour for ships of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). Napoleon expanded Vlissingen into a fortified city, building the Westbeer and Oostbeer walls that still stand today.
De Schelde factory at Vlissingen in WWII
The Germans captured the Dutch aviation industry largely intact in spring 1940. In contrast to neighbouring France, the Germans quickly reactivated the Dutch aviation industry. As Dutch officials reported after the war, as early as 22 May 1940, RLM (Reichsluftfahrtministerium) officials appeared at the De Schelde factory at Flushing (Vlissingen) and ordered the management to resume production of the Dornier Do 24 flying boat it produced under license.
Do 24, De Schelde factory
Do 24, Museum Soesterberg
Low-rate production of this aircraft continued until the Flushing factory was heavily damaged in a daytime air raid on 20 August 1943. Production of this factory was subsequently dispersed to several smaller locations. Dutch companies delivered to the Luftwaffe a total of 175 Do 24 flying boats during the occupation. Although this was a relatively small contribution, it helped to free Dornier's capacity to more important production programs and fulfilled most of the Luftwaffe's need for flying boats.
From: Daniel Uziel; Arming the Luftwaffe
Veere began as the hamlet of Kampvere in the 13th century. Veere only began to flourish in the 16th century, when it became the staple port for Scottish wool. A Scottish colony was established in Veere at that time, complete with its own governor. Although Veere lost its staple rights in 1799, Scottish interest in the city remained. In WWII Veere was liberated by Scottish troops on 7 November 1944. As a result of the damming of the Veersegat in 1961, the fishing fleet of Veere moved to a new home port at Colijnsplaat on Noord-Beveland.
Final runway 09 Midden-Zeeland
We approached Midden-Zeeland from the north to enter the pattern mid-downwind to runway 09. Another faster plane that joined the pattern behind us at the beginning of downwind was overtaking us inside the pattern, and we were forced to make a 360 over right at the end of downwind before landing. After landing we payed the landing fees, and then walked to the restaurant for lunch.
From Midden-Zeeland to Hilversum
After lunch at Midden-Zeeland we departed for Hilversum.
Colijnsplaat is an old village, created when the Oud-Noord-Beveland polder was reclaimed in 1598.
In the 1953 Flood, locals pushed against floodboards that threatened to colapse while wave after wave from the storm flood rolled-in from the other side.
A loose freight ship miraculously blocked the spot and protected the village from the floods.
There is now a monument called
Houen jongens (
Hold on, boys!) to commemorate the very spot of the miracle.
Veleda at Midden-Zeeland airfield
Colijnsplaat, Zeeland bridge
Zierikzee, then located on the island of Schouwen, received city rights in 1248. Near the town there was a sea battle in 1304 between a Flemish fleet and an allied Franco-Hollandic fleet which ended in a Franco-Holland victory. In the 14th century two large town gates were built as part to the waterfront defence the waterfront. The 16th century Stadhuis town hall now houses the Stadhuis Museum. In WWI, an off-course British bomber dropped several bombs on Zierikzee, killing three citizens. In the decades after WWII, some 30 million kilos of munition were dumped in the (deep) Gat van Zierikzee in the Oosterschelde estuary, and remain there today. In 1953, Zierikzee was damaged by the catastrophic North Sea flood.
Dreischor is a circular village on the former island of Dreischor. In 1357 Dreischor was connected to Schouwen by two dams. Precisely in the centre of the village stands the Sint Adriaanskerk, amid streets in concentric rings. During the 1953 storm also Dreischor was flooded.
Ouwerkerk is the oldest village of the former island of Duiveland, possibly founded in the eleventh century. The church at its centre, is dedicated to St Geertruid, around which is the ring of houses so typical of a traditional ring village. The church tower was blown up in the Second World War, but along with the church itself it was reconstructed in the 1950s. The village is most renowned for hosting the Watersnoodmuseum on the 1953 Flood, and the Watersnood monument. That disaster hit savagely here, claiming one in six villagers. Afterwards, the breached dike at Ouwerkerk was the last one to be closed. The caissons used for the closure now house the museum.
Watersnood museum, Ouwerkerk
Final runway 07 Hilversum airfield
Extent of flooding in the Netherlands
North Sea flood of 1953
The 1953 North Sea flood was a major flood caused by a heavy storm that occurred on the night of Saturday, 31 January 1953 and morning of Sunday, 1 February 1953. The severe north-westerly storm pushed the waters of the North Sea up high into the English Channel.
Even before springtide had reached its highest point, the dikes broke in the southwest of The Netherlands.
Large parts of South Holland, Zeeland and North Brabant were inundated. There were 1,836 deaths recorded and widespread property damage. 865 or almost half of the casualties occurred in the province of Zeeland, 677 in the province of South Holland, 247 in Brabant, and 7 in North Holland.
Afterward, The Netherlands developed the Delta Works, an extensive system of dams and storm surge barriers.
After landing at Hilversum we went home, and we viewed the pictures of the trip. It had been a nice and interesting trip.
De Hollandse IJssel
During the North Sea flood of 1953, a dike along the IJssel began to collapse. In desperation, the mayor of Nieuwerkerk ordered the owner of a river ship to plug the hole in the dike by navigating the ship into it. The mayor's plan was successful, as the ship was lodged firmly into the dike, reinforcing it against failure and saving many lives. In 1954 construction started on a storm surge barrier in the IJssel, the first installation of the Delta Works. In 1958 it was completed.
Monument near Nieuwerkerk