From Hilversum to Texel
On Sunday, 21 July 2019, Fokko, Saskia, Veleda and René made a long-before planned trip to the island of Texel in the north-west of The Netherlands.
René, Fokko and Saskia
Gliders at Hilversum airfield
After departure from Hilversum runway 25, we turned north over the Loosdrechtse Plassen, the lake west of Hilversum. We passed Muiderberg and Muiden, and then we crossed the IJmeer east of Amsterdam to Monnickendam.
After Monnickendam we overflew Purmerend and then to the west to view a number of Defence Line of Amsterdam fortresses Fort Benoorden Purmerend, Fort aan de Nekkerweg, Fort aan de Middenweg, Fort aan de Jisperweg and Fort bij Spijkerboor (pictures).
The Defence Line of Amsterdam (Stelling van Amsterdam) is a 135 km ring of fortifications around Amsterdam (map). Built between 1883 and 1920, it has 42 forts that are 10-15 km from the centre and lowlands, which can be flooded in time of war. The flooding was designed to give a depth of about 30 cm, too little for boats to cross. Any buildings within 1 km of the line had to be made of wood so that they could be burnt and the obstruction removed.
Fort Benoorden Purmerend
Fort bij Spijkerboor was at the time one of the most modern and heavily armed forts of the Stelling van Amsterdam, equipped with an armored dome with a double-barreled cannon.
We continued our flight over the Schermer polder in the direction of Alkmaar.
Around 800 AD, the Schermer area was covered in peat. Peat-digging made the area to develop an inland lake over time, that was drained in the 17th century.
We overflew Alkmaar south of the old city.
Alkmaar was the first town, in 1573, to repel occupying Spanish troops when locals opened the locks and flooded the area with seawater, forcing the Spanish forces to retreat. The event is still celebrated every year in Alkmaar on 8 October, the day the siege ended. The victory won the town weighing rights, which laid the foundation for its cheese market.
After Alkmaar we turned to the north west to continue along the coast to Den Helder, the northernmost point of the North Holland peninsula.
Den Helder is home to The Netherlands' main naval base. From Den Helder there is a ferry service to Texel.
During the Dutch Golden Age, ships would be assembled near Den Helder and sail the world's oceans from there. On 23 January 1795, the French captured 14 Dutch ships and 850 guns in the town's deep-frozen harbour. In 1799 the city was the target of the Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland.
Nieuwe haven, Den Helder
Alkmaar is known as the city of cheese in Holland. On Friday mornings in season, cheeses are stacked on the main square. Porters carry the cheeses on wooden sledges to the old cheese scale. Built as a chapel in the 14th century, the Waaggebouw was pressed into service as a weigh house in the 16th century. Today it houses the Dutch Cheese Museum. Alkmaar's Grote Kerk is renowned for its organs. The most famous is the little 'Swallow Organ' (1511) in the north ambulatory. The 17th-century organ built by Jaco van Campen dominates the nave. Alkmaar's Stadhuis was built between 1509 and 1520 in Gothic style.
Oudeschild is the fishing harbour of the island Texel. In the 17th century, the Dutch East India Company ships sailing from Amsterdam waited for favourable winds on the sea near Oudeschild.
Left base runway 22 Texel airfield
We approached Texel from the south, and we flew the seasonal arrival procedure via Alfa and Delta to runway 22 (map). After landing we fueled for the return flight (with four adults there is not much room for fuel in the Cessna 172), and then we had lunch at the restaurant of Texel airfield.
From Texel to Hilversum
After lunch we departed for the return flight to Hilversum. This time we flew via the Corridor from Texel to Den Oever, at the west end of the Afsluitdijk (map).
Departure from Texel airfield
Coasting-out from Texel
We followed the east coast of North Holland to Medemblik.
After Medemblik we continued south, over Hoorn to Edam. Just north of Edam is the Fort bij Edam, the most north-eastern Fort of the Stelling van Amsterdam. We continued south, further passing Volendam and Monnickendam.
Edam, Fort bij Edam
After the Waterland region we approached the north bank of the IJmeer lake, where also a Fort of the Defence Line of Amsterdam is located. This is the Fort bij Durgerdam on the Vuurtoreneiland (Lighthouse Island).
South of the IJmeer is Muiden, with the medieval Muiderslot at the mouth of the River Vecht. Also located at Muiden are the Muizenfort and West Battery of the Defence Line of Amsterdam (map).
Vuurtoreneiland, Fort bij Durgerdam
The last highlight of the sight-seeing trip was Naarden-Vesting, the fortified town of Naarden. We crossed the 't Gooi area, and then around Hilversum to join the traffic pattern of runway 25 of Hilversum airfield for landing.
Approaching Hilversum airfield
The Naarden-Fortification (Naarden-Vesting) obtained city rights in 1351 and is thereby the only city in 't Gooi. Because of the strategic location, Naarden became a militarily fortified place and part of the defence line "Hollandse Waterlinie", the Dutch Waterline. In the 17th century the city acquired its typical style, well preserved until present day, of the star form with double walls, gatehouses and bastions.