Die Berg Komt Er

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Die Berg Komt Er ("That Mountain Is Coming") was a proposed construction in the Netherlands. The concept was to create a man-made mountain in a country famed for its generally flat landscape. It was suggested in a column by Thijs Zonneveld, whose thoughts on the idea were initially intended to be comedic. However, it quickly gained attention due to serious responses and feasibility studies.

Initial suggestion[edit]

In July 2011, Thijs Zonneveld, a journalist and semi-professional cyclist, wrote a column in NU.nl about the need for a mountain in the Netherlands. He proposed that the country should build a mountain 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) tall and 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) wide. Although not intended to be a serious suggestion, it quickly gained support from organisations including the Dutch Ski Association, Dutch Climbing and Mountaineering Association (NKBV), and Royal Dutch Cycling Union (KNWU).[1][2]

Zonneveld's column suggested that there would be significant benefits to Dutch sport, noting a lack of success in ski-jumping, bobsledding, and cycling. He also wrote about the possibility of including a road with hairpin bends and an ice rink. There would be further benefits for athletes who would be able to train at high altitudes.[3]


Initial feasibility studies suggested that the construction might be possible but only if it were hollow. If a solid mountain of the proposed size were to be constructed it would take up to 7.7 billion cubic metres (2.7 billion tons) of sand. The weight of this addition to the landscape could affect ground levels for distances up to 50 kilometres (31 mi) away, lowering the altitude by up to 100 metres (330 ft).[4]

The required volume of materials needed for the construction of the project would be a significant barrier to its success in terms of availability and financial cost. There would also be substantial carbon dioxide emissions in the production of the materials.[5]

In early 2012, Bartels Consulting Engineers gathered mathematicians from across Europe to investigate the potential problems that could be encountered with the construction. They met as part of the 2012 Mathematics with Industry conference in Eindhoven. They looked into the possibility that the weight of the structure might affect minor geological faults and cause earthquakes, and how the weather systems might be changed by the structure.[4]

The Mathematics with Industry report summarises:

A report by the Eindhoven University of Technology later in 2012 demonstrated that the proposal was not financially feasible, with potential costs reaching up to 7 trillion euros. Zonneveld at that time suggested a more modest altitude of 300 metres (980 ft), with the possibility of later construction to higher elevations.[6]

Potential locations[edit]

Relief map of the Netherlands.

Zonneveld suggested that there would be sufficient available space in the north-east of the Netherlands or that land could be reclaimed from the sea.[3]

At the 2012 Mathematics with Industry conference in Eindhoven, eight potential locations were investigated, with six being ruled out. They decided that building off the coast of Zeeland or in the IJsselmeer close to Flevoland would too badly affect shipping routes particularly around Rotterdam. Air traffic from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol meant that building in the Markermeer could prove problematic.[5]

The build would be likely to affect local ecosystems and the suggestion of construction being sited near the island of Texel was ruled out because of the environmental problems that it might cause. Creating the mountain in the sea near The Hague might amplify or change the currents around the area, contributing to coastal erosion. Though there would be the potential to harness this for use as a form of sustainable energy it was ruled out pending computer simulations.[5]

In order to minimise the effect on existing infrastructure the team decided that building the mountain in the IJsselmeer near to the Afsluitdijk would be unwise. They therefore favoured a build in the North Sea near Bergen aan Zee or in the province of Flevoland.[5]


  1. ^ Brown, Mark (2 September 2011). "Dutch engineers mull over 2,000m tall man-made mountain". Wired.co.uk. Condé Nast UK. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  2. ^ Roumeliotis, Greg (30 August 2011). "Dutch mull bringing the mountain to them". Reuters. Condé Nast UK. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Zonneveld, Thijs (29 July 2011). "Berg!". nu.nl (in Dutch). Sanoma Media Netherlands. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Math Study On Dutch Mountain". Bartels Consulting Engineers. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "SWI 2012 Proceedings: Up and Beyond - Building a Mountain in the Netherlands" (PDF). European Institute for Statistics, Probability, Stochastic Operations Research and its Applications. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "Kunstmatige berg van twee kilometer komt er niet". Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch). De Persgroep Digital. 20 December 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 

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