So Comes the Mountain

Just when you think you’ve heard everything, something comes along that reminds you that you haven’t even begun to touch on the weird and wacky.

So it went with this story in Eurosport about the Dutch building a mountain.

Yes, you read that correctly. They’re going to build a mountain.

One thing the Netherlands is not: mountainous. Or hilly. There aren’t even very many gentle slopes.

Oh sure, there are a few hills, primarily in the southeast. But for the most part, Nederland is flat.

When you are in the countryside, it can be very lovely, in that ‘eyes sweeping the horizon as far as one can see’ sort of way. It feels vast and open, not tightly constrained.

Over time, you learn to appreciate this; it’s like a min-version of how 19th century pioneers must have felt heading west in America. That wide open range kind of feeling.

You may not even realize that you miss higher elevations.

That is, until you encounter them.

The Trossachs in Central Scotland

The Trossachs near Stirling, Scotland

Wherever we travel, the minute I catch a glimpse of rolling hills, rounded mountains or jagged peaks, I feel such a thrill.

Ditto for driving on winding, curvy roads.

Some people dislike hairpin turns, but not me.

The sway of the car, the climbing elevation, the change in topography and vegetation – they all remind me that I am no longer in flatland.

Monadhliath Mountains Near Inverness & Loch Ness, on www.adventuresinexpatland.com

Monadhliath Mtns Between Inverness & Loch Ness

So when I read the Eurosport article I was both skeptical and intrigued.

The project is named ‘Die Berg Komt Er’ (the mountain is coming).

It’s the brainchild of a Dutch sports journalist, Thijs Zonneveld. He threw out the idea in jest, musing aloud about the possibilities of the Dutch using the mountain to train for winter sports.

Some people thought he was gek (crazy), but the idea took hold with athletic groups, then futurists, urban planners and the like. The end result is that it looks as though the Dutch may actually build this mountain.

Swiss Alps Near Leysin on www.adventuresinexpatland.com

Swiss Alps Near Leysin

It will be 7,000 feet high which is tall, but not gargantuan. In contrast, the world’s tallest mountain is Mount Everest at 29,035 feet.

Of course altitude quickly becomes a problem the higher you climb, so the Dutch manmade mountain will be a more reasonable, comfortable 7,000 feet to allow for skiing, mountaineering, cycling, hiking and the like.

That’s what will be occurring on the outside.

On the inside of the mountain and beneath ground-level, the builders envision a massive center of shops, roads, railways, indoor arenas and living space.

Sort of like the Jetsons’ space age world, except underground. They even envision the project providing its own power and water supplies.

The projected cost and timeline? Ah, there’s the rub.

Estimates range from 40-270 billion British pounds (46-308 billion Euros or 65-438 billion US dollars, in today’s rates).

And it could take 30 years.

No doubt that the creativity, imagination and idealistic vision of this endeavor are exciting and noteworthy. Much good could conceivably come out of it. Perhaps it is in fact the way of the future.

But I can tell you that if I (or just about anyone) pitched a project that would take THAT long, cost THAT much, and the range of costs was THAT iffy??

Well, let’s just say that I wouldn’t be allowed in charge of household spending, the budget of a commercial project or public purse strings for a long, long time.



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