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  1. #1
    dR Dazzler
    Join Date
    Jan 2010


    Default Netherlands mountain no longer a joke, booster says

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    A 2,000-metre-high mountain in the flatlands of the Netherlands is no longer just a pipe dream, the idea's main supporter, a newspaper columnist, said on Saturday.

    "The idea is not new but it's the first time that it is taken seriously by so many people," Thijs Zonneveld, a former athlete and writer for free daily De Pers said.

    According to Zonneveld, engineers, construction firms, investors and experts are already busy discussing the feasibility of a man-made mountain that would include ski slopes, bobsleigh tracks, an ice rink, hiking trails, cliffs for climbing and scenic mountain roads with hairpin turns.

    "It seems like that my plea -- a joke at first -- has clicked," the columnist said.

    During these socially difficult times, "people want to get excited about a big project and say: yes we can do that. Companies see a chance to create innovation platforms," he said.

    The project website receives hundreds of hits every day and more than 8,200 people follow Zonneveld on Twitter.

    A former semi-professional cyclist, Zonneveld decried his country's "boring" flatness in a column in July.

    "Flat is ideal for growing beetroot, raising cows or building straight roads, but it's a catastrophe from a sports point-of-view," he wrote.

    "I want a mountain, a real one. In the Netherlands."

    Beyond being a tourist attraction, Zonneveld said his mountain would allow athletes to train in high altitudes and finally be on equal footing with competitors from countries with heights.

    On Thursday, the cycling, skiing and climbing federations agreed.

    "The hills in Limburg can no longer be compared to the Alps and Pyrenees. For this reason, we support the mountain," the federations said in a joint statement.

    The ideal site would be the central Flevoland province, Zonneveld said.

    "There's room and land is not expensive," he said adding that the province had already launched a study.

    "I'm living a dream right now. It would be marvelous if the mountain became reality by 2018," the columnist said.



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