Children run through a Dutch tulip field

What started as a joke about creating an artificial mountain in the utterly flat Netherlands may actually be feasible.

On a website, cyclist and journalist Thijs Zonneveld laughingly urged his countrymen to create their own mountain with alpine slopes, meadows and villages.

“It was not serious but the next day there was such a serious response from people who had actually been thinking about it and calculating stuff that it made me realise I was not the only one who’d had that idea,” Zonneveld said.

At present the highest ground is at Vaalserberg, in the province of Limburg. But it’s only 323 metres high, making it little more than a hill.

But Zonneveld, 30, dreams of an artificial mountain 5km wide and 1 to 2km high, which would surpass the world’s tallest man-made building, the 828m high Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai

Zonneveld has yet to figure out how the Dutch mountain would be designed and built, what materials would be used, where it would be located, and, crucially, how much it would cost.

Yet his call has resonated with the enterprising Dutch, whose engineering prowess has allowed them to defend land that lies below sea level from the raging waters and to engage in major engineering feats abroad, such as building artificial islands in Dubai.

On Tuesday, Dutch engineering groups such as Oranjewoud and Bartels, along with sport organisations, such as the Dutch skiing association and the Dutch climbing and mountaineering association, met to discuss details.

“The project is feasible and we Dutch have a lot of experience in moving soil and sand around for our land reclamation projects. It just needs to gather a snowball of support,” said Oranjewoud project manager Anthony van Dongen

 

“Technically this can be done… The biggest hurdles will be financing and environmental problems. But these will be tackled in the coming months.” – Reuters