From Hilversum to Verviers
It was a bit windy, on Friday, May 13, 2022, but it was still a nice afternoon to take another flight. We decided to fly to a field south of Maastricht in Belgium where we had not been before, although it was only an hour's flight away from Hilversum.
We had made the plan to also fly over Hernen on the way back, where we had been the previous weekend to visit the castle there.
After we arrived at the airport, Veleda went to the airport office to relay the plan, and she immediately paid the landing fee in advance for when we returned. Meanwhile, René inspected the plane, and then taxied to the pump to refuel.
By one o'clock we were on our way. We passed Buren, where we had also been the Sunday before when we returned from Hernen. Buren has close ties with the House of Orange-Nassau. William of Orange was married there and many members of the Dutch Orange-Nassau family would have lived there.
The Dutch revolt against Spanish rule (1568-1648) led to an independent Dutch state. However, in 1815, after a long period as a republic, the Netherlands became a monarchy under the House of Orange-Nassau in the aftermath of Napoléon's fall. It had been arranged by Britain, the Kingdom of Prussia, the Austrian Empire, and the Russian Empire in the secret London Protocol of June 1814.
The eighth president of the United States, Martin Van Buren, is said to have traced his ancestry to inhabitants of Buren, who had taken the surname Van Buren after relocating to the Dutch colony of New Netherland in what is now the state of New York.
Near Heerewaarden we passed the area where the Maas and the Waal rivers come close together. The Waal and the Maas have only been separated from each other for over a hundred years. Before that, at Heerewaarden, there were always connections. There are plans to re-establish an open connection. The government first wants to see if there can be no danger to shipping and water quality. Water safety behind the dikes must also be guaranteed. The water level of the Waal is higher than that of the Maas and to prevent a 'waterfall' a gradual transition must be ensured at the very least.
Buren in the Batavia region
Rivers Maas and Waal close together
North of Volkel AFB we switched to Volkel Tower to request permission to fly through the Volkel CTR. We crossed the Volkel CTR west of the airfield in the direction of Helmond. After leaving the Volkel CTR we were instructed to switch to an Eindhoven frequency for crossing De Peel CTR. It is not quite clear when Volkel controls the airspace of De Peel south of Helmond, and when Eindhoven controls it. On the way back, Volkel also gave permission to cross De Peel for the same route as on the way up through De Peel CTR. They may be all military personnel in the same control room anyway.
ATC in De Peel CTR is provided by Eindhoven TWR and Volkel TWR.
For crossing clearance of De Peel CTR adjacent to Eindhoven CTR contact Eindhoven TWR.
For crossing clearance of De Peel CTR adjacent to Volkel CTR contact Volkel TWR.
As we passed Veghel in the Volkel CTR, we saw the Lambertus Church, again a design by 19th century/early 20th century architect Pierre Cuypers. Cuypers is well known in the Netherlands. He designed more than one hundred churches, of which about seventy were built. In addition, he was involved in among others the design of Amsterdam Central Station, Castle De Haar, Rijksmuseum and the Oudenbosch Basilica.
North of the Maastricht TMA, we made contact with Beek Approach to cross the Maastricht TMA. Approach asked us if we could climb to 3,000 ft, which was no problem given the clouds were higher up.
Lambertus church in Veghel
River Maas near Maasbracht
After passing the Maastricht airport we could descend to 2,000 ft. We passed the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten. Not long after, we were instructed to make contact with Liege Approach. Soon after, we approached Theux airfield. We landed on runway 24, and after parking, we paid the modest landing fee and had a soft drink.
Passing Maastricht airport in Beek
Arrived at Verviers, Theux airfield
The Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial is a Second World War military war grave cemetery, located in the village of Margraten. The cemetery, the only American one in the Netherlands and dedicated in 1960, contains over 8,000 American war dead. It is administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission.
From Verviers to Hilversum
We had already submitted the flight plan back before departure, so we didn't have to worry about that. After an hour, we were back in the air for the return flight. After takeoff, we made contact with Brussels Information asking them to activate the flight plan. A fine service that for some reason is not provided in the Netherlands.
Just north of Herve we saw the cross again that we saw on the way out. When we got back home we looked up the cross on the internet (see box below).
South of Maastricht we made contact with Beek Tower, requesting to cross the Maastricht CTR via the arrival route from Zulu to Golf, and then further the departure route from Golf to Bravo (see map). Along the way, a ruined castle in Born caught our eye.
Croix de Charneux with observation post
After passing Stevensweert we were able to turn north-east in the direction of Helmond. This route would keep us clear of the airspace of Kleine Brogel Air Base.
South of Someren we passed De Groote Peel National Park, a national park in the De Peel. It has a size of 13.4 km2 and preserves a peat bog that has remained partly untouched by peat cutting, which used to be extensive in the area.
National Park De Groote Peel
We made contact with Volkel to cross De Peel and Volkel CTRs. We were to report when flying into De Peel CTR, and then when flying into Volkel CTR. Upon entering the Volkel CTR, we were given a Squawk code, as on the outward trip.
We had to report again one minute before crossing the extended center line, and in the meantime descend to 1,000ft. After crossing the extended center line we were given permission to steer in the direction of Wijchen. There we wanted to fly over the nearby Hernen Castle where we had been the Sunday before.
After we flew an orbit around the castle we steered toward Hilversum. We also passed by Amerongen Castle, where we had also been.
The construction of Hernen Castle occurs mainly under the Van Wijhe family. They owned the castle from 1406-1646. It is this family that in the course of the 15th and 16th centuries had residential wings built on the inside of the walled courtyard. Later owners had the castle adapted to the requirements of their time only to a limited extent.
Of great importance in the construction of the castle are the field kilns near the castle, where the necessary stones were manufactured. Hernen was never besieged or destroyed, only startled by the collapse of the large, square, 14th-century corner tower with which its construction once began.
The castle was thoroughly restored between 1942-1957. In the time that followed also the Hernense Bos and the grounds behind the castle, became property of the Friends of the Gelderland Castles Foundation. In the late 1960s the castle served as a film location for the famous TV series Floris. The series launched the careers of actor Rutger Hauer, director Paul Verhoeven and screenwriter Gerard Soeteman.
Veleda with Castle Hernen
Courtyard Castle Hernen
The history of Amerongen Castle dates back to 1286, though in the centuries that followed, the castle was destroyed and rebuilt several times. The current castle dates from 1680, after its precursor was burned down by French troops in 1673. The castle, surrouned by historical gardens, is situated in the picturesque village of Amerongen at the foot of the Utrecht Hills.
In November 1918, the German Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941) was in Spa, Belgium. He fled to The Netherlands, where he was granted political asylum and was temporarily housed in Amerongen Castle. Wilhelm II stayed here for nearly two years, and signed his abdication here in 1918. The desk at which this happened is still part of the Amerongen collection.
Desk where Wilhelm II signed his abdication
The history of the village of Austerlitz dates back to 1804, when a general of Napoleon Bonaparte had half of his troops assembled here, some 18,000 men. A number of traders settled near the army camp to trade with the soldiers. The general was later called away to wars elsewhere, but the traders remained, and their settlement was the beginning of the village of Austerlitz.
After passing Soesterberg, where gliders were winched, we continued over De Bilt to the airfield. There we landed on runway 25. After settling the paperwork and cleaning the plane, we headed home. We were just in time to see Charlotte on TV (pianist) in the band of Bastiaan Ragas, a well-known singer in the Netherlands.
Village of Austerlitz
Back at Hilversum airfield