From Hilversum to Oostwold
A phase of an international project was completed today, for which some last moment things were finished, and it was time for a little break. In the afternoon Charlotte and René were making a flight to the north-east of the Netherlands. Charlotte is at home, since the conservatory is closed for the time being, just like all other schools because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Oostwold is a small airfield in the north-east of the Netherlands, in the province Groningen. The airfield was open, but just like everywhere else, the restaurant at the airfield was closed. So it would just be a short stop, and then we would fly back to Hilversum.
We took-off from runway 36, and left the traffic pattern near the Loosdrechtse Plassen. From there we turned to the north-east, over Hilversum, to fly around Flevoland with its in 2019 implemented – albeit for now unnecessary – controlled airspace for Lelystad airport. Airlines do not use Lelystad yet, and that may take several more years.
Wiping the controls with a disinfectant
Charlotte and René
After overflying a farmhouse that we know, we continued along the former IJsselmeer coast to the north-west. We passed the old centre of the former Hanseatic town of Elburg, and from there to former Hanseatic city of Kampen.
Kampens's historic centre contains numerous medieval monuments, including towers, gates and houses. One of the town's most distinctive features is its beautiful bridge that connects IJsselmuiden and Kampen over the IJssel. The middle section of the bridge can be lifted to allow large boats to pass.
The name IJssel includes the paired letters I and J, which behaves like a single letter in Dutch. This explains why both letters appear capitalized, like also for example IJsselmuiden and IJsselmeer.
While the town is small, there are many museums to visit. The 15th-century Agnietenconvent, or convent of St Agnes, is now home to Museum Elburg. This museum hosts both permanent and temporary exhibitions about the town's history. The casemates, one of the oldest still-existing cannon cellars and the wall house where the poorest of Elburg's citizens lived are part of Museum Elburg as well.
At the northern tip of the province of Overijssel, in the nature reserve Weerribben-Wieden, lies the village of Giethoorn. The characteristic features of this village are the many canals, typical high bridges and thatched farmhouses. Giethoorn is an extremely popular tourist destination, particularly with visitors from Asia and some 200,000 Chinese nationals visit the town every year. The village itself, also known as the Venice of the North, has 2,600 inhabitants. A large part of its built-up area is only accessible by footpath or boat.
Steenwijk was originally an old fortified city. The canals and ramparts date from the time of the Eighty Years' War (Dutch War of Independence), when Steenwijk was a strategic place in the battle between the Seventeen Provinces and Spain.
The university city of Groningen was already an independent city-state and key trading centre by the late Middle Ages. In the last 500 years, the Martinitoren tower has endured fighting, fire and lightning, and has nearly collapsed. At 97 metres, it is still the highest building in the city. In 1594, Groningen, until then held by Spain, was captured by forces led by Maurice of Nassau.
Oostwold airfield has been in use since 1960, initially based on annual exemptions for agricultural aviation only. The airfield did not have a so-called designation under the Aviation Act, but could be used since 2008 on the basis of an exemption that was granted annually. In 2013, Oostwold became an official airfield.
We landed on runway 25, and vacated via Bravo to taxi to the parking. In the meantime the runway in use turned to 07. There was one other airplane doing touch-and-go's, but further it was quiet at the airfield. We paid the landing fee with Tom, and sat down for a brief time on the terrace of the closed restaurant before we went back to the plane for the return flight.
Arrived at Oostwold
Charlotte and René at Oostwold
From Oostwold to Hilversum
We took-off in the opposite direction from where we landed, and first set course to the south-east. There we passed the towns of Finsterwolde and Beerta.
Charlotte at the quiet airfield
Take-off runway 07 Oostwold airfield
Nearby is Oudeschans, a fortification that was built in 1593 during the Eighty Years' War to defend the strategically important Bellingwolderzijl (Sluice of Bellingwolde).
From the end of the sixteenth century, several strongholds were built in the northeastern Bourtangermoeras (Bourtanger Moor) swamp area on the border of the Netherlands and Germany. Due to their location, the marshes formed natural defensive belts for the provinces of Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe. The single access roads through the extensive peat bogs were closed by the fortresses Bourtange and Coevorden, and ramparts such as Oudeschans and Nieuweschans. The fortifications and the strategic access roads were situated on somewhat higher ridges in the middle of the peat. The swamp and the strongholds played an important role during the wars between Groningen and Münster.
Bellingwolde originated on a sand ridge in the Middle Ages. The settlement flooded many times until parts of the Dollard were impoldered in the 16th century. Nowadays Bellingwolde is a protected townscape because of the urban and cultural-historical value of the area.
Along with Oudeschans, Bourtange fortress was originally built in 1593. Between 1739 and 1742 the fort was brought back to a defensible condition and expanded. In 1851 the star fort was given up and Bourtange became a normal village. In the 1960s a reconstruction of Bourtange commenced to bring it back to its 1742 state.
Soon after the construction of the Bourtange fortress, Spanish forces from Groningen besieged it, though the attack ended in failure. Fort Bourtange faced another siege in 1672 against invading forces of the Prince-Bishop of Münster, France's German ally in the Franco-Dutch War. Following a refusing to surrender the fort, the Münsters replied with a frontal assault. Thanks to the surrounding marshes and the time-tested fortifications, the invading army was repelled successfully.
West of Bourtange lies Stadskanaal. Stadskanaal was founded in 1765 as a peat extracting colony. It is a ribbon village nearly 10 km long, along the Stadskanaal canal that was excavated, giving the settlement its name.
Philips built a semiconductor factory in Stadskanaal in 1955, offering employment to agricultural labourers who had become redundant due to mechanisation after WWII. Philips was allowed to open its own airport – Aerodrome Onstwedde – in Stadskanaal in 1962. Following the decline of Philips in Stadskanaal, the municipality took over the airport in 1977. Nowadays it is an ultralight airfield.
West of Stadskanaal we turned to the south-east again, and we crossed three of the ribbon Monden towns (1e Exloërmond, 2e Exloërmond and Valthermond) lying between the Stadskanaal canal and the Hondsrug.
Stadskanaal ultralight airfield
In 1817 the nine main villages of the Hondsrug joined to sign an agreement with Stadskanaal, regulating the transport of peat from Drenthe. This agreement covered a huge area of 14000 hectares and it resulted in the formation of new towns, laid out perpendicular on the Hondsrug, along the canals that debouched in the Stadskanaal canal; the Monden (mouths) towns.
The excavation of peat became an important industry, providing work for thousands of workers in eastern Drenthe. The new villages that were left after the peat extraction ended became the centers of new industrial and agricultural activity and they often grew larger in size and economy than the old villages on the Hondsrug they originated from. Production of peat reached its climax around 1870-1880; after that the mining of peat gradually declined.
Ter Apel was founded at a monastery, the Ter Apel Monastery, which was built in 1465. In Ter Apel is one of the two Asylum Seekers registration centres in The Netherlands.
Nieuw-Weerdinge is one of the peat colonies in the Bourtanger Moor which originated in 1872 at the time of the peat extraction.
Ter Apel prison and Asylum seekers centre
The Veenpark museum in Barger-Compascuum, east of Emmen, tells the story of the peat moors along the Hondsrug. In the low-lying and water-logged areas east of the Hondsrug, large thicknesses of peat bog accumulated during the last few thousand years. Starting in the Middle Ages, this peat bog became coveted because it could be excavated for 'turf', a much valued fuel for the growing population. The museum shows how people lived and worked here in Drenthe in the old days.
Just across the border with Germany lies the town of Hebelermeer (Hebeler lake). Perhaps our family name and the town name Hebelermeer are somehow intertwined, albeit the family name appears to originate from Groningen or Drenthe on the Dutch side of the border with Germany that was drawn in 1817 through the former commonly grazed (latin: Compascuus) lands.
Veenpark in Barger-Compascuum
From Hebelermeer we flew in the direction of Coevorden, and from there further to the south-west back to Hilversum.
We passed the Themepark & Resort Slagharen, named in a satirical video clip introducing the Netherlands to Trump
in a way he would understand and would become the best watched Dutch video on YouTube in 2017.
We continued to the south-west, passing Ommen, Dalfsen and Zwolle. When we approached the military training area Oldebroek, Dutch Mill Info advised to stay clear of the military area Oldebroek. We flew again around Flevoland to Hilversum, where we landed on Runway 36. Maurits was also on the airfield, and helped cleaning the plane. It had been a nice trip.
Themepark & Resort Slagharen
Army barracks at Het Harde
Approaching Hilversum airfield
Maurits and Charlotte
Maurits and Charlotte
René and Charlotte