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Sunday 21 December  
Windmills and Dutch mountain
Kinderdijk, Netherlands
Kinderdijk, Netherlands

In the Dutch mountains

Published on : 15 August 2011 - 11:09am | By Gerhard Verduijn (Collage: RNW)
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What do you know about the Netherlands? Umm... that it's a flat country, right?

In fact, mountains are as rare in the Netherlands as brown bears on the North Pole. That's why millions of Dutchmen travel abroad every year to go skiing, climbing and cycling on steep slopes. But, aware of the adage that God created the world, but the Dutch created Holland, some Dutch entrepreneurs said that a few mountains should be added to dwarf the country's tallest hill - the Vaalserberg, whose summit is at 322 metres. It could bring in loads of money, they thought.

As part of this year's silly season coverage, Dutch freesheet De Pers floated the idea of building a Dutch mountain and exploit it commercially, for activities like skiing, hiking, climbing and so on. Former professional skating manager Ron Mulder even dreams of having the 2022 Winter Olympics in the Netherlands. We're OK for skating facilities, but for skiing you need snowy slopes, so let's build one.

Sceptics pointed out that the soft, often peaty Dutch soil is ill-suited to bear a weighty artificial mountain - it could sink into the mud. The prospect of a deafening "glorp" sound followed by the disappearance of the fake rock would be enough to scare off even the most daring investor, so financing the Dutch Alp would not be easy.

RNW takes the idea one step further and shows you what the Netherlands' tourist sites would look like with mountains. 

The image of mountains in the flat, coastal country has been conjured up before: Dutch band The Nits had a 1987 hit with "In the Dutch Mountains" from the album of the same name; it's the soundtrack of our video. In the same year a novel by Dutch author Cees Nooteboom was published in English as "In the Dutch Mountains". 





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