April 1, 2017

Which part of the Netherlands is furthest from any building?

Filed under: Nature,Science,Sustainability by Branko Collin @ 7:26 pm

map-uninhabited-places-nl-ptityeti“I know my country is a crowded one”, starts a question on question-and-answer website Stack Exchange.

But “where in The Netherlands am I furthest away from any city or town?”

Usually these sites have lots of opinions and very little in the way of meaningful answers, but one Ptityeti decided to go the extra mile and do the research. Luckily the two datasets they needed are both open and Creative Commons licensed. Openstreetmaps provides detailed maps of the country, and the government-created BAG database contains the exact position of every building in the country.

In turns out the recent nature reserve Oostvaardersplassen (reclaimed from IJsselmeer in 1986) is the winner, beating out the Drowned Land of Saeftinghe, the Lauwersmeer and Veluwe. If you went to Oostvaardersplassen, the furthest away you could be from any building is 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles). What it basically boils down to though is that you have to hike into any of a number of former sea inlets, with Veluwe being the only place that can be considered proper land.

There were a few other conditions to the question. The place had to be on mainland Netherlands (we have a couple of uninhabited islands that would otherwise be clear winners) and couldn’t be a dike or dam, or Afsluitdijk might have won.

Ptityeti’s fascinating post details the sort of caveats one has to take into consideration if one wanted to answer a question like that. Even the question “how do I get as far away from people as I possibly can in the Netherlands?” is not answered by looking at datasets of building locations. After all, the answer to that would probably be “take the plane to Canada”. In the Netherlands, you do not get away from other people.

Illustration: Stack Exchange / Ptityeti.

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February 27, 2014

The white bikes of the Hoge Veluwe, 40 years of loyal service

Filed under: Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 11:49 am


On 27 April the Hoge Veluwe National Park in Otterlo, Gelderland will be celebrating 40 years of free-to-use white bikes for visitors, originally suggested by members of the mid-1960s Provos, a Dutch anti-establishment cultural movement whose co-founder passed away in 2009.

The Hoge Veluwe, a three Michelin star tourist attraction and the biggest nature reserve of the country, features 5,400 hectares of green and forest. When cycling through it on your white bike, you may catch a glimpse of animals like deers to rabbits. Also on the grounds of the park is the world-famous Kröller-Müller museum, featuring works by Van Gogh and Picasso indoors and with sculptures and paintings outdoors – a great place to spend the day. There’s also a nature discovery museum for kids and of course, white bikes for kids and even for parents with small children.

At the celebration, five of the white bikes will be painted by artists and auctioned off, and there will also be a photo competition, the winners of which will have their pictures enlarged and placed around the park.

(Link: , Photo of White bikes, Hoge Veluwe by 123_456, some rights reserved)

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August 28, 2011

Weather prediction for the next ten years—rain, rain, rain

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 12:09 pm

It’s been raining a lot here this summer—I thought I’d share the pain (and the view from my window) a bit.

Meanwhile, Noordhoff publishers and the Dutch weather office, KNMI, presented a climate atlas last week. Some interesting tidbits:

* Worldwide the temperature has risen 0.7 degrees Celsius over the past 50 years, in the Netherlands that was 1.4.

* The temperature in Amsterdam averages 11 degrees Celsius over the past thirty years, which is the same average as Lyon (in the South of France) had thirty years ago.

* The rainiest places in the country are the Veluwe (the nature reserve in the middle of the country) and the North of Amsterdam.

* The skies released 850 litres water per square metre on average; 100 years ago that average was 700 litres.

Since we’re in the middle of a period of global warming, it is expected that these trends will continue (though KNMI is hedging its bets).

Update August 31, 2011: Dutch News: It’s official: this is the wettest summer since 1906.

(Links: Parool.nl, Vereniging voor Weerkunde en Klimatologie)

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