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Airbase Soesterberg

Final spatial plan Soesterberg Air Base
Mark van der Heide
Peter de Ruyter
Mark Berger
Ronald Bron
Frits van Loon
Marike Oudijk
Remco Rolvink
Jonas Strous
Petrouschka Thumann
Province of Utrecht
Municipality of Zeist
Municipality of Soest
440 ha (60 ha Museum Quarter)
Landscape, nature and water
Year of design:

Soesterberg Air Base
On the 12th of June 2009 ownership of a large part of the Soesterberg Air Base was transferred to Utrecht province. With the departure of the Ministry of Defence there is now the chance to build bridges, both ecologically and recreationally, between the northern and southern part of the 'Heuvelrug' area. Upon instruction by the parties concerned HOSPER created the spatial plan for its redesign. The plan is one of the first projects in which the ‘saldobenadering' - the balance approach which allows for development in the main ecological structure of the Netherlands - has been used. From a design approach the ‘saldo benadering' has proven to be an interesting means for integral plan development. With the completion of the National Military Museum in 2014 an important step has been made towards the development of the Air Base as a landscape park.

Open space
The secret of Soesterberg is the large open space in a sea of trees and buildings. The space surrounding the runways is the central motive of the design. The triangular shape refers to the heath land that served as a runway in the early years of aviation.

The Soesterberg
The northeast side of the airbase is bordered by the 'Soesterberg' - the Soest Hill. Its slopes offer space for an information centre about the ‘Utrechtse heuvelrug', a range of hills in the Utrecht province. At the bottom of the hill now lies the new National Military Museum (NMM), a merger between the former military museums in Delft and Soesterberg. Because of the combination of infrastructure and facilities the museum quarter is also the main entrance for holiday-makers. Visitors can experience the open space of the runways from the museum quarter, a balcony with superb views at the foot of the Soest Hill.

Recreational route
Surrounding the open space a cycle path has been created that connects interesting locations with each other and with their surroundings. Along the route are a number of robust shelters - that previously offered shelter for jets - , a hidden landscape with interesting bunkers and installations, and the new entrance buildings with diverse programmes such as a cafe, a viewing platform and a bird-watching tower.

New village edge
Apart from nature and recreation, the plan also provides for the development of a new village edge for the Soesterberg village. The existing situation at the back of the village will thus be changed. Furthermore, it forms an impulse for the transformation of the neighbouring commercial area.