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Dutch May Build Artificial Mountain

What started as a joke a month ago has become a serious plan as Thijs Zonneveld gains support from Dutch skiers and climbers for the construction of an artificial mountain in the Netherlands. Though he concedes the project will take many years and many euros, Zonneveld has met with engineering and architecture firms to frame the possibilities for recreation, housing and tourism. When the project is complete, a mountain approximately one kilometer high and five kilometers wide will cover the otherwise flat province of Flevoland, in the center of the country.

Zonneveld’s idea is not without precedent. In 2004 a Dutch journalist suggested a similar project in Flevoland; a German architect proposed building a one-kilometer high mountain in Berlin in 2009. Neither plan was completed. Even so, Zonneveld is optimistic that his project will be approved. He cites the Dutch legacy of landscape engineering as evidence of the tenacity needed to complete such an ambitious project.

The implementation, materials, location and budget of Zonneveld’s mountain have not been finalized. If successful, the plan may impact the ski industry in Western Europe by reducing skier traffic through Germany. It will certainly raise questions in our climbing community. Is the establishment of a new route significant if it ascents an artificial peak? Does a man-made mountain even count as a mountain?