Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields in Europe:

Netherlands, Province: Zuid-Holland

This collection of airfields is © 2010-2012 by RonaldV
(Disclaimer).


Valkenburg Updated 27 Nov 2012 - Ypenburg Updated 1 Mar 2013 - Brasemermeer Revised 31 Mar 2012

Waalhaven Updated 31 Mar 2012 - Rotterdam Heliport Updated 29 Jun 2011 - Ruigenhoek & De Zilk Updated 31 Mar 2012

Heliport Maasvlakte - Ockenburg Updated 31 Mar 2012 - Voorburg Updated 27 Sep 2011

Maaldrift Updated 31 Mar 2012 - Numansdorp Added 14 Feb 2011 - Oostvoorne Added 7 Sep 2012

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Valkenburg (CLOSED)

 

52°09'58"N 04°25'4"E

 

Runway 05/23 - 2440x45meter/8006x148 feet - asphalt/concrete (Closed)

Runway 16/34 - 1500x45meter/4920x148 feet - asphalt/concrete

 

Naval Air Station Valkenburg (Dutch: Marinevliegkamp Valkenburg, ICAO: EHVB/closed) was a military airport just north of The Hague, the Netherlands.

Marinevliegkamp Valkenburg was located between Wassenaar and Katwijk, on the west coast of the Netherlands.

Construction of the airfield started in 1939 and was still continuing when Germany invaded the Netherlands in May 1940

 

Map of Valkenburg on the eve of World War II (10 May 1940, via Peter van Kaathoven).

 

The German invasion airfleet (some 50 Ju-52s) that landed there to capture the airfield sustained heavy losses when their aircraft, stuck in the soft and wet soil, were destroyed by Netherlands fighters and artillery.

During the war the airfields construction was continued by the Germans, who renamed it Fliegerhorst Katwijk.

They operated Messerschmidt Bf-109 (aka Me-109) and Focke-Wulf Fw-190s from the base, but only for short periods

 

Vliegveld Valkenburg

View of Valkenburg in 1943.
(Photo: collection Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie)

 

In May of 1945 the airfield was used as a dropzone for Operation Chowhound.

Chowhounds was the US part of a joint RAF/USAAF effort to bring food between 29 April and 7 May to 3 million Dutchmen (including a child we came to know as Audrey Hepburn) that were suffering a famine.

Ten B-17 Bomb groups of the 3rd Air Division of the USAAF flew 2200 missions to designated dropzones, sometimes flying as low as 400 feet.

2268 sorties were flown by USAAF, staring 1 May, delivering 4000 tons of food, including K-rations

Although they were not considered combat sorties by the British and American High Command, they were still dangerous

Nobody was really sure what the German FLAK positions would do if they saw the temptingly slow and low flying bombers.

 

Footage of B-17s flying low (around 400feet) over Holland in May 1945.

It must have been a scary (albeit rewarding) mission for the crews, which were more used to their operational altitudes around 18.000feet.

 

You can read more about the Chowhound food drops here

 

When Allied forces finally liberated Holland the airfield was pressed into service by the RAF, who used PSP-plates to reconstruct the damaged concrete german built runway in just a few days.

When the RAF left the Netherlands Air Force took over the airfield and based a transport squadron (1TransVA) there.

In October 1947 however the base was transferred to the Royal Netherlands Navy (Dutch: Koninklijke Marine) and renamed Marinevliegkamp Valkenburg

 

Auster AOP Mk.3's in front of the Transva hangar at Valkenburg.

Auster AOP3s in front of the TransVA hangar.
(Photo: collection Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie)

 

In February 1953 the airfield played an important role in the relief effort for the flooded province of Zeeland, hosting hundreds of relief flights.

The final RNLAF unit, a transport squadron, left the base in 1957, leaving the airfield to the Marine Luchtvaartdienst (MLD, or Naval Air Service).

In 1959 a new runway was taken into service.

 

Martin PBM-5A Mariner maritime patrol amphibian P 300 (1955-1960) at Valkenburg

Martin PBM-5A Mariner P-300 at Valkenburg, somewhere between 1955 and 1960.
(Photo: collection Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie)

 

Hawker Seahawk carrier borne fighters (used between 1957-1964) at Marinevliegkamp Valkenburg in 1959 (NIMH).

 

Simulated deck landings with a 'Stoof' (Grumman S-2F Tracker) and a landing mirror at Valkenburg, ca. 1963 (NIMH).

 

Undated photo of an MLD Lockheed Neptune with the old control tower at Valkenburg.

 

When the Netherlands government bought 13 P-3C Orions it became necessary to start an intensive modernisation programme for the airfield.

A new control tower, new runways, taxiways and new hangars were erected.

The first Orion arrived in July 1982

After Air Base Ypenburg closed in 1991 MVK Valkenburg became the official gateway for foreign VIPs visiting the Netherlands

 

Naval Air Station Valkenburg in 1986 (NIMH).

 

Three foreign VIP aircraft at Naval Air Station Valkenburg in 1995. Recognisable are a Russian Tupolev, a British BAe-146
and an American Boeing 707, while several smaller business jets and MLD P-3 Orions fill the rest of the flightline (NIMH).

 

HM Queen Beatrix new transport (Fokker 70 Executive PH-KBX) at Naval Air Station Valkenburg in 1996 (NIMH).

 

Undated map of Valkenburg, presumed to be late 1980s, via Peter van Kaathoven.

 

In a weird twist of fate, the German military were the first AND the last military to use Valkenburg

After a long but not very in-depth debate about specialising roles within NATO after the Cold War ended, the Netherlands government decided to sell it's P-3s to other countries.

The role of the Dutch MARPAT, it was reasoned, could also be fulfilled by the Netherlands larger NATO neighbours, the RAF and the Luftwaffe.

5 Orions were sold to Portugal, who already owned and flew the type.

The other 8 were sold to Germany, who were completely new to the type having flown French-built Atlantics.

To allow them to familiarize themself with the Orions Valkenburg became their training base for a period of two years.

 

Overview of NAS Valkenburg in May 2003. The shadow of a P-3 Orion can be seen just north of the main runway (Google Earth)

 

Heavily censored overview of NAS Valkenburg in 2005. Although the Air Station was already known to be closed shortly,
and the Orions had already been sold, someone in the military leadership decided that Valkenburg was still a vital military
facility, which had to be censored to keep it from getting attacked (Google Earth).

 

The airbase was closed in 2006, although it could still be used for glider flying

The airbase is no longer owned by the MoD, but was instead transferred to the Treasury, who intend to sell it.

The municipality of Katwijk is a likely candidate to buy the airfield and redevelop it into a residential area.

They intend to leave the control tower and surrounding area intact as a memory.

One of the hangars was converted into a theatre for the musical verion of 'Soldier of Orange'

Building is not expected to commence until 2012.

 

Overview of NAS Valkenburg just after closure.

 

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Ockenburg

 

52°05'77"N 4°21'77"E

 

Flying field: xx/xx - xxxxmeter/xxxxfeet - grass

 

Airfield Ockenburg (Dutch: vliegveld Ockenburg) was an airfield on the south side of The Hague, the Netherlands.

After the ELTA aviation exhibition in Amsterdam many initiatives in aviation were started.

One such an initiative was the launch of airfield Ockenburgh in The Hague, which was to become 'the First Airport in the Netherlands'

 

Ockenburgh plans were ambitious: it was to have day and night flying operations, a passenger service to Amsterdam and possibly later to Rotterdam as well, and room for private owners of aircraft.

On the edge of the airfield Ockenburgh was to get an office building named the Aviation House (Dutch: Luchtvaarthuis), which was to become what the Scheepvaarthuis (Shipping House) in Amsterdam had become to shipping.

It was to become a meeting point for anyone and anything aviation related, with offices, apartments, shops, aircraft dealerships, a parking garage, and even a small airstrip on top of the roof!

Late in the summer of 1919 the terrain had been completed to such an extent that the airfield was opened with a three day flying fest.

The fest was such a success it was lengthened by another day.

When it was over however all activities came to a halt.

The only aviation related activity in the period that followed was an aviator that made an emergency landing in 1928 at the field he remembered from the fest almost 10 years prior.

The airfield was converted into a sports park.

 

During the mobilisation before World War II the airfield was reactivated to reserve status and renamed Ockenburg (without the final 'H').

On the eve of the German attack it only had a few unserviceable aircraft: 5 Douglas 8A-3N bombers (which were assembled from new at the airfield) and two Fokker G.1B fighters

In the early hours of 10 May 1940 two Fokker D-XXI and two Douglas DB-8A/3Ns landed; they needed fuel and ammunition.

Only the latter was available.

A short while later German fighters attacked the airfield, followed by Fallschirmjaeger and 28 Ju-52 transports.

Soldiers stepping out of the aircraft immediately opened fire.

At 7am the battle was over; of the 96 defenders 24 were killed, another 18 were wounded

Soldiers that were garrisoned nearby (mostly non-combat personel) counter-attacked, but they were poorly organised.

A Fokker T-V bomber however managed to destroy 4 Ju-52s, but was lost after the attack, shot down by no less than 5 fighters.

Another 3 T-V bombers bombed the field a little later.

Artillery fire from nearby Poeldijk began at 8am, and with the assistance of a battalion of the army they managed to defeat the German troops.

Ultimately they still lost the war after 5 days.

 

Vliegveld Ockenburg

View of Ockenburg in early May 1940.
(Photo: collection Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie)

 

severely damaged Ju 52 of 2./KGzbV.2 at Ockenburg.

Severely damaged Ju 52 of 2./KGzbV.2 at Ockenburg.
(Photo: collection Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie)

 

Fokker G.1 Wasp 345 buitgemaakt op Ockenburg, mei 1940. Rechts een Junkers Ju 52.

Captured Fokker G.1 Wasp and Ju-52/3m at Ockenburg in May 1940.
(Photo: collection Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie)

 

The aircraft that were at Ockenbug were captured by the Germans, some were tested and ultimately displayed in Berlin.

The airfield itself was fenced off, and converted into a fake airfield.

In 1944 the airfield became the launching pad of V2 rockets aimed at Antwerp and London

A misfire of a V2 on New Years day 1945 killed dozens of people in the nearby Indigostraat in The Hague



After the war, Ockenburg was considered as a possible site for a navigation station (Cold War euphemism for an air defense Command and Control/GCI-radar site).

Navigation Station "South" (Dutch: Navigatie Station "Zuid", callsign 'Meadow') was ultimately built a few miles further south in the village of De Lier

Today, nothing is left of the former airfield.

The area was converted back into a sports park and surrounded by residential areas.

More on Ockenburg can be found at http://www.vliegveld-ockenburg.net/ (Dutch language, but with photos)

 

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Maaldrift

 

52°09'04"N 004°25'38"E

 

Runway n/a - ...meter/...feet - grass

 

Airfield Maaldrift (Dutch: vliegveld Maaldrift) was an airport 2 NM (3 km) northeast of Wassenaar, near The Hague, Netherlands.

Maaldrift was extremely close to the construction site of airfield Valkenburg.

In spite of it's closeness to Valkenburg Maaldrift was actually older: it had been a diversion field for the KLMs Amsterdam-London line since the 1920s

 

Maaldrift airfield in 1920 (collection Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie)

The pilots of the 'Iron Squadron' (dutch: IJzeren Escadrille) posing at Maaldrift airfield immediately after landing
their 5 Spijker V-2 trainers in 1920 (collection Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie)

 

Maaldrift was the site of heavy fighting for control of Valkenburg.

One of the Ju-52/3m aircraft that was destined for Valkenburg crashed at the airfield

 

A crashed Ju-52m next to the leiden-The Hague tramway in May 1940. (source)

 

Airfield Maaldrift today: a tennis club (red) and a mobilisation complex (blue) of the netherlands army now occupy the site

 

The tower of Maaldrift now houses a tennis shop at the Wassenaar tennisclub "De Oude Eik"

 

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Air Base Ypenburg

 

52°02'24"N 004°22'06"E

 

Ypenburg station crest

 

1978:

Runway 05R/23L - 2137x45meter/xxxxfeet - Asphalt

Runway 05L/23R - 2441x45meter/xxxxfeet - Concrete

1990:

Runway 05/23 - 2410x45meter/xxxxfeet - Asphalt

 

Air Base Ypenburg (Dutch: Vliegveld Ypenburg or Vliegbasis Ypenburg - ICAO: EHYB) was an Air Basefield close to The Hague

Ypenburg started as a civilian airfield for the The Hague Aeroclub in 1936

When initial construction had finished the airfield measured 900x830meters, about the same size as Amsterdam Schiphol during that era.

In 1939 the airfield was commandeered by the Netherlands government because of the imminent war.

 

Ypenburg in 1939, with the hangars and station building on the west side, and a location marker in the center (RNLAF Historic Section).

 

May 1940 map of the airfield, showing the ground defenses and their firing sectors at Ypenburg (map via Peter van Kaathoven).

 

On 10 May 1940 the Germans attacked the airfield, but they were repelled.

In spite of this successful initial battle the Germans won the war, took control of the airfield and repaired the damage.

Because of it's proximity to the coast the Gemans did not use the airfield however, as they feared Allied air raids.

In 1943, out of fear the airfields would be used for an invasion, the Germans ordered all airfields close to the coast to be sabotaged.

By 1944 the airfield became a base for V-1 flying bombs.

When the British received a tip as to where the bombs came from they bombed the airfield.

In April and May of 1945 the base became a drop zone for Operation Manna, the RAF equivalent of the USAAF Operation Chowhound.

Starting three days before their American allies, Lancaster bombers from the RAF 'bombed' the airfield with tons of food for the starving people of Holland.

 

A Ju-52/3m that nosed over at Ypenburg during the battle for the Low Countries (collection Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie).

 

Ypenburg after the battle with German forces in May 1940 (bhummel.dds.nl).

 

Ypenburg on an RAF reconnaisance photo taken in September 1944.

 

Businessman Frits Diepen bought the airfield after the war, and reopened it in 1947.

In 1948 he started his own airline, Aero-Holland, based at Ypenburg.

Because of accidents the company shut down the next year.

He then started 'Frits Diepen Vliegtuigen N.V.', which specialised in trading and repairing aircraft

In the presence of General Eisenhouwer the first F84E Thunderjet was handed over to the RNLAF in 1951 at Ypenburg.

The 'Frits Diepen Vliegtuigen N.V.' company merged with Fokker in 1954.



In 1957 the commercial activities at the airport stopped, because of the closing in of the cities of Rijswijk and The Hague.

The military took over the airfield two years before and from 1957 they stationed a transport squadron and two light aviation squadrons at the base.

Four years later the first TF-104G Starfighters landed at the air base.

In April 1966 a national newspaper reported the presence of a "Tupolev 1466'Avrilskaja" at the air base, which can be seen from a nearby motorway.

Everybody noticed the red star and letters CCCP, but nobody noticed the similarities with a F-84 Thunderstreak, or the type indicator 1466'Avrilskaja (1-4-66 April).

 

An early Fokker S.11 (reg. E-1) in front of the 'Diepen Vliegtuigen' Hangar at Ypenburg (collection Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie).

 

A De Havilland DH.82A Tiger Moth parked in front of the Aero-Holland hangar at Ypenburg (collection Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie).

 

A Belgian Air Force F-84F belly landed at Ypenburg in 1956 (collection Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie).

 

Fokker F27 PH-PBF of the Dutch Royal Family taxiing in front of the Ypenburg tower, sometime after 1960.(collection Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie).

 

Three Fokker S.14s trainers in the snow at Ypenburg, with a low flying Sud Aviation Alouette II passing by (collection Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie).

 

In 1968 Ypenburg was deactivated as an active air base, severely limiting air traffic.

In 1982 Ypenburg was put from 'sleeper' air base into 'reserve'.

The final 4 F-104 Starfighters overflew the Ypenburg runway on their flight to their new home country Turkey two years later.

The aircraft had been put in storage at the airfield pending their disposal.

1986 held two celebrations: Fokker AvioDiepen's 40th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of the airfield itself.

 

All drafted servicemen that served at Ypenburg received this Crash-map. By reporting a letter-cipher combination,
reporting of crashes was much simplified. Notice the use of 'coca' instead of the NATO-standard 'Charlie'.
('Vliegveld Ypenburg, van sportvliegveld tot vliegbasis')

 

In 1990 Ypenburg shone one more time: it played a major role in the transport of thousands of troops and Equipment from Germany to Saudi-Arabia for Operation Desert Storm.

The US transports were the last aircraft to use Ypenburg; the airport closed in December 1990.

In a sober ceremony in September 1991 the Air Force flag and the national flag were taken down for the last time.

A flight of 4 F-16s performed a low pass as a final farewell.

The air base remained under Air Force control until 1992, when it was transferred to the Treasury.

 

Air Base Ypenburg on 7 August 1993 (ANP Foundation under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

In 1997 the construction of the new The Hague residential area 'Ypenburg' began.

Most of the former airfield infrastructure was removed to make room for a housing project where 30,000 can live.

The runway was replaced with a street and a canal, which has the exact length of the old runway, and is aptly named 'Startbaan' (Dutch for 'Runway')

The buildings of the former military camp (including the control tower) are still where they used to be however.

Most have been renovated, and now house the Defense Curriculum Institute (Dutch: Instituut Defensie Leergangen)

On the other side of the project the former control tower is still standing (but in MUCH need of some TLC)

 

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Heliport Maasvlakte

51°57'34"N004°05'24"E

HeliportMaasvlakte nearly on the beach before it moved inland in 2007
The runway and taxiway outlines to the southeast belong to a former ultralight airfield (ICAO: EHMA) that had closed shortly before

 

Runway - n/a - concrete

 

Heliport Maasvlakte (also known as Heliport Pistoolhaven, ICAO: EHTP) is a small helicopter airfield in the Europort region of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

The heliport is used exclusively for pilot services to ships approaching Rotterdam harbour.

It became operational in 1996, but moved to a more inland location in 2007.

Just before the move of EHTP the ultralight airfield EHMA was to move south, but this has been delayed by protests of local communities.

 

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Heliport Rotterdam

 

51°55'36"N004°28'55"E

 

Runway n/a - brick/concrete

 

Overview of Rotterdam Helihaven in the summer of 1953
(from the Dutch Touring Club magazine "De Kampioen", september 1953, via Google Docs)

 

Heliport Rotterdam (Dutch: Helihaven Rotterdam) was a heliport in the center of Rotterdam.

In March of 1953 the municipality of Rotterdam asked the Ministry of Transport for permission to set up a heliport in the city on an empty plot of land between Katshoek, Vriendenlaan and Rechter Rottekade.

A few days later the management of Belgian airlline SABENA held talks with the city council about a helicopter connection between Rotterdam and Brussels.

These talks were to lead to the opening of a freight service starting 1 August that same year.

 

SABENA Sikorsky S-55 at Rotterdam Heliport, ca. 1958 (source)

 

Exactly one month later it was to be followed by passenger flights, provided Ministerial approval was granted.

The approval came on 11 April, followed a few days later by approval of the city-council.

The day construction of the heliport started, two Sabena S-55 helicopters landed on the site.

The freight service Rotterdam-Antwerp-Brussels started on 3 August, the passenger service followed on 1 September 1953.

Although the Chamber of Commerce endorsed the idea, their initiatives did not lead to expansion.

In November 1956 the city council accepted the proposal to improve the field to full heliport.

This allowed operations with the larger and faster S-58 from the site.

Out of safety concerns the Ministry of Transport would no longer allow single engine operations from 1 April 1965, however.

In October that same year Sabena announced it was forced to move its helicopter operations to Rotterdam Airport.

On 1 November 1966 the service Brussels-Roterdam was cancelled altogether.

 

SABENA Sikorsky S-55 with Rotterdam City Hall in the background, ca 1958 (source)

 

Today, due to heavy urban redevelopment, nothing remains of the former heliport.

It was located between the Rotterdam Community Archive (dutch: Gemeentearchief) and the Admiraal de Ruijterweg.

The terrain is completely built over by apartment buildings.

 

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Waalhaven

 

51°52'26"N 004°26'38"E

 

Flying field xx/xx - xxxxmeter/xxxxfeet - Grass

 

Airfield Waalhaven (Dutch: Vliegveld Waalhaven ) was an airfield on the south side of the Nieuwe Maas in Rotterdam.

It was opened on 16 July 1920 as the first European airfield strictly for civilian use.

Initially it was just a field made of dregded up sand, with no runways.

The aircraft that used it were converted military planes.

The first Dutch all air-cargo flight left from this airfield in 1924.

In the 1930s the airfield became a major hub in the air routes to London and Paris

Waalhaven was also home to aircraft manufacturers Nationale Vliegtuig Industrie (NVI) and NV Vliegtuigenfabriek Koolhoven.

In 1932 the Graf Zeppelin visited airfield Waalhaven.

 

Because of it's proximity to the Rotterdam harbour Waalhaven also accepted flights from waterplanes and flying boats.

For this purpose a pier was built into the Waalhaven harbour.

 

Airfield Waalhaven floatplane (source: Frans Gordijn).

 

Airfield Waalhaven at night in the 1930s

 

By 1935 passenger flights appeared to develop favourably, so a station building and control tower were pressed into service.

Unfortunately at the same time KLM decided to move its technical center to Amsterdam Schiphol that same year

The next year the timetable showed only one flight per day to London, whilst four left from Amsterdam.

It became necessary to modernise if Waalhaven wanted to keep playing on an international level.

Longer runways were needed to cope with larger aircraft.

It was thought to be better if Rotterdam invested in a new airfield north of the city in the polder Zestienhoven

The city council was not opposed to the idea, but the real push came when the MoD declared it was willing to buy the airfield for 1.1million Dutch Guilders.

A deal was struck that allowed civilian aircraft to operate from Waalhaven until the airport at Zestienhoven was completed.

In 1938 the MoD bought the airfield.

 

Airfield Waalhaven in 1938 (source: NederlandseLuchtvaart.nl).

 

Before the deal was completed mobilisation was declared.

Waalhaven was completely taken over by the military, and closed to civilian air traffic.

Even worse: part of the inventory of the civilian airport was brought to Schiphol

On 30 March 1940 KLM proposed a deal with the Rotterdam Chamber of Commerce: they would open a daily connection to England if the Chamber guaranteed a number of passengers

The flights would leave from a strip of land on the airfield that was cleared for civilian use by the military

The deal was never concluded: on 10 May 1940 the airfield was completely destroyed, first by German and then by Dutch bombs.

 

Airfield Waalhaven on the eve of World War II (10 May 1940, via Peter van Kaathoven).

 

Fokker G.1 Mercury 302 of 3e JaVA at Waalhaven, May 1940. While preparing to start it was nosed over by an exploding bomb.

May 1940. While preparing to start this Fokker G.1 Mercury 302 of 3e JaVA at Waalhaven was nosed over by an exploding bomb.
(Photo: collection Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie)

 

On the eve of the invasion 13 Fokker G.I fighters were based at Waalhaven, 11 of which were combat ready.

At 4am two bombers opened the attack, first bombing and then strafing the airfield.

3 Fokkers were lost in the raid, and most of the buildings were burning.

The other 8 went airborne, and found themselves in combat almost immediately.

While more bombers attacked the airfield, the Fokkers shot down 13 enemy planes, against one loss.

Two G.Is landed at Waalhaven due to combatdamage, the others diverted to De kooy, Zevenbergen and the beach at Oostvoorne

Around 5.15am a second wave attacked the airfield, this time joined by Ju-52 troopcarriers.

After heavy fighting the Germans captured the airfield, killing 51 soldiers and taking some 400 prisoners (out of 700 defenders).

the other 250 soldiers got dispersed and were not a coherent fighting force anymore.

Counter attacks, both from the air and from land failed.

 

Airfield Waalhaven after it was bombed by the Luftwaffe in 1940 (Source Wikipedia/Deutsches Bundesarchiv)

 

Airfield Waalhaven was one of the locations for food droppins during Operation Manna (29 April - 7 May 1945).
This film of food 'bombings' by RAF Lancasters in Rotterdam surfaced from a house south of Rotterdam in 2011.

 

Waalhaven was never rebuilt, as both the Germans and later the Dutch deemed it a total loss.

After the war it became the main site of the NATO Pipeline Organisation that provided western Europe with fuel in case the Cold War would turn hot.

 

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Airfield Ruigenhoek & De Zilk

Ruigenhoek: 52°16'51"N 004°29'47"E

De Zilk: 52°18'13"N 004°32'40"E

 

Runway xx/xx - xxxxmeter/xxxxfeet - surface

 

Auxiliary Airfields Ruigenhoek & De Zilk (Dutch: Hulpvliegvelden Ruigenhoek & De Zilk) were two small military airfields in the dunes close to Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

Both auxiliary airfields were built during the mobilisation in the Dunes north of Noordwijkerhout.

From 9 April 1940 they formed the base of the 3rd Reconnaissance Group (Dutch: 3e Verkenningsgroep)

 

By marking the airfield with dark lines they was hard to spot from the air.

Although its position was known by the German forces, they were never attacked during the invasion.

This is odd, because despite it's lack of size Ruigenhoek was a VERY active airfield

It's 13 combat ready aircraft were parked outside in covered and camouflaged positions around the airfield.

In the early hours of 10 May 1940 none were ready to start

 

Although he received an alarming message at 0.45am the airfield commander took no action

A Fokker D-XXI that landed at the airfield at 4.15 found a very quiet airfield

When the pilot found the duty officer he informed him of the state of war.

A little later the Fokker was joined by two more D-XXIs and 4 Fokker T-Vs, one of which remained because of an unusable engine.

On this first day of the war 9 assignments were carried out using 21 aircraft.

 

Map of airfields Ruigenhoek and De Zilk during the early days of World War II (14 May 1940) showing their proximity to each other, via Peter van Kaathoven.

 

On the second day the bomb supplies were refilled.

Attempts to fly Fokker C-Vs from ypenburg failed.

Only a few missions were flown

On 12 May 1950 only half a dozen missions were flown.

By night only 2 C-Vs remained.

The next day technicians managed to get 3 more C-Vs airworthy, and two more arrove from Ypenburg

 

In the morning of the 14th seven C-Xs from Bergen arrived at Ruygenhoek.

These and some C-Vs flew four reconnaissance missions.

By 17.00 the order to stop fighting arrived, followed by the order to destroy all equipment.

Crews immediately began collecting the aircraft and burnt them.

Later that night the order was countermanded.

Without permission of the commander one C-X departed for the province of Zeeland at 20.15.

Of the crew only one managed to escape to England.

(source)

 

Today, nothing is left of the former auxiliary airfield.

The field is now an agricultural field, and mainly used to grow bulbs

 

Airfield Ruigenhoek plotted on Google Maps

 

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Numansdorp

51°45'34"N004°27'37"E

 

Airstrip Numansdorp as it appears on Google Earth (2005)

 

Runway 01/19 - 730meter/...feet - grass

 

Airfield Numansdorp (Dutch: vliegveld Numansdorp, ICAO: EHND) was a private airfield on the northern edge of the village of Numansdorp, south of Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Numansdorp was an airstrip solely for the use of cropdusting aircraft, and was mainly used by Polish contractors.

It is not known when the airstrip opened, but it was in regular use until 2005-2006 according to Han de Ridder.

 

Han reports: "Modest air fetes were organised in the 1990s, when the owner of the airfield would invite cropdusters to show off their agility.

Although it no longer appears to be in use and it's ICAO-code listing has disappeared from the records, it is still being maintained by the owner of the land."

 

Airfield map of Numansdorp (collection Han de Ridder).

 

Aerial view of airfield Numansdorp from the southwest (collection Han de Ridder).


Aerial view of airfield Numansdorp from the southwest showing a small helicopter on the 19 treshold (collection Han de Ridder).

 

Many thanks to Han de Ridder for pointing out this airfield!

 

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Voorburg airstrip

 

52°04'26"N004°20'23"E

 

Runway - n/a - dirt/grass

 

Airstrip Voorburg was an airfield just outside Voorburg, an suburb of The Hague in the Netherlands.

The airfield started on 26 May 1945 when the commander of 6 Dutch Auster Squadron at Gilze Rijen Air Base commandeered the use of a small sportscomplex between Voorburg and the The Hague-Utrecht railway line.

Around the same time similar air strips were set up at Amsterdam (Stadionkade) and Zeist.

The airfield was quickly turned into a small airbase by converting local buildings into support facilities.

Aircraft were parked immediately next to the road, obviously drawing much attention from local residents.

 

The emergency airstrip at Hoekwaterstraat in Voorburg with a number of Austers of 6 (Dutch) Auster Squadron.

The emergency airstrip at Hoekwaterstraat in Voorburg with a number of Austers of 6 (Dutch) Auster Squadron.
(Photo: collection Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie)

 

The unit soon began to grow, with crews consisting of war volunteers and pre-war air force personnel.

The airfield was used to provide a means of communication between the government seat in The Hague and the rest of the country.

Because the German occupation had left much of the country's infrastructure destroyed or even completely stolen, air transport provided a fast and reliable means of communication.

Pilots were often send out with minimal means on trips that took them across the nation, and even abroad, for several days.

The units functions were slowly being taken over by the Netherlands Governement Air Transport Service (KLM really, but under a government sponsored guise).

Their DH Dominies were too large for the airfield however, and the airfield had no room to expand.

When the English announced their withdrawal from Valkenburg air field later that year it became available to the Squadron.

The airstrip closed shortly after 11 December 1945.

 

Today the area is completely built over by the A-12 motorway between The Hague and Utrecht.

Nothing remains of the former airstrip.

 

The area of the airstrip in 2008, nothing remains of the airfield or the sports complex (Google Earth)

 

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Navy Air Support Unit Brasemermeer

 

51°45'34"N004°27'37"E

 

Runway n/a - water

 

Navy Air Support Unit Brasemermeer (Dutch: Marinesteunpunt Brasemermeer) was a floatplane unit at Lake Brasemermeer, northeast of Leiden, Netherlands.

The Unit used an unknown location in Oude Wetering on the northwestern side of the lake.

It became operational in 1939 during the mobilisation.

One of their aircraft was shot by a German reconnaissance aircraft near the island of Ameland on 13 September 1939, claimed by Germany as result of a misidentification of its markings (Czechoslovakian and Dutch roundels were similar, but as it was unlikely a naval Czechoslovakian -Czechoslovakia was completely landlocked- aircraft would have patrolled here this is generally considered to be a german hoax).

As a result of this incident however all Dutch military aircraft received new nationality markings: an orange triangle pointing down with black borders.

 

Maintenance crew on a Fokker T VIII-w during the mobilisation (collection Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie).

 

Fokker T8W with pre-September1939 nationality markings

 

Fokker T8W with post-September 1939 nationality markings

 

On 10 May the unit was tasked with bringing two ministers (Foreign Affairs and Colonies) to England.

On May 14th the unit was ordered to escape via France to England where they continued to serve as 320Sqn

 

Fokker T8W with RAF nationality markings

 

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Oostvoorne

51°55'20"N 004°04'45"E

 

runway: n/a - ...x...m - grass flying field

 

Oostvoorne air field (dutch: Vliegveld Oostvoorne) was an airfield on the coast of Holland, west of Rotterdam

The airfield was opened in 1930 by the chairman of the Rotterdam Aero Club, Mr. C. Kolff.

Originally intended for golf players from Rotterdam (back then a two hour travel), the little airfield in the dunes soon attracted the attention of KLM and the Naval Flying Service.

KLM believed it would make a good intermediate for their Rotterdam Waalhaven to Knokke service.

The opening ceremony of the airfield proved to be a bit of a non-event.

The weather caused a low turnout and a Fokker airliner decided not to land because of the wind, but instead flew back to Rotterdam.

Drainage of the airfield proved problematic, as did the wind directions from time to time.

Often the field would appear to be flooded, resulting in the appearance of a small windmill driven pump at the southwest cornere of the airfield.

The airfield expanded to the northwest in the spring of 1934.

On 30 April work has progressed far enough for KLM pilot Aler to bring a heavy cargo aircraft to the airfield to test the new surface.

He approved of the field, and Oostvoorne gained permission to operate Koolhoven FK43 and Fokker F-VII.

In July 1936 KLM organised sight-seeig flights from the airfield.

Both from a commercial and from a Public Relations viewpoint the flights were a success.

Older Oostvoorne people still owned their 'flight certificate' by the turn of the centruy.

 

No photos have been located

 

Ultimately it proved hard to exploit the airfield properly.

Pilots kept complaining about the amount of water on the airfield.

Requests to enlarge the airfield were ignored.

In 1939 the dunes and the airfield were not sold to the Oostvoorne community, as agreed in 1934.

Instead, it was sold to the Rotterdam Administration Fund.

At their own request, the licence to operate was revoked as of 25 February 1939.

 

Oostvoorne saw aircraft one last time in 1940.

On 10 May 1940, after heavy aerial battle with the Luftwaffe, 3 Fokker G1 fighter aircraft diverted to the old airfield, low on fuel.

In spite of being camouflaged, the aircraft were discovered before new fuel arrived and shot on the ground.

Their remains were carried away by farmers to an unknown destination.

 

Today, the former airfield is a nature conservation area.

A local track is called Vliegveldpad (Airfield Path) in recognition of the old airfield.

 

Still looking for maps and photos of this airfield

 

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If you have any information about airfields (listed and unlisted) in Zuid-Holland, email RonaldV.

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