August 2021: We quickly strive towards "Groote Heide", which we will soon reach after two meager city kilometers.
Small but nice, as they say, a piece of magical heather spreads out on the outskirts of the city.
"The Groote Heide is a nearly 250 hectare nature reserve between the Dutch city of Venlo and the border with Germany. On the German side, the Krickenbecker lakes are directly connected Lean sand lawns as well as coniferous and mixed forests.
For centuries the area was used for agriculture, sheep kept the vegetation low. From the middle of the 19th century, the Groote Heide served the Dutch army as a target practice area and as a military airport during the Second World War.
After the German invasion of the Netherlands in 1940, the area became the German air base "Fliegerhorst Venlo", and later also a branch of a concentration camp. After the end of the war, the airfield was blown up. Nevertheless, many remains and ruins are still preserved on both sides of the border, including the remains of a huge arched hall that served as a hangar. Today, on the border line between Germany and the Netherlands, there is a memorial that tells the story of the Venlo Air Base. The Venlo glider club has been using part of the former runway since 1946. In a former hangar, artists and artisans have set up their atelier, which is managed by Dutchwoman Wilhelmina Spolders. ... "
It is indeed wonderful here, so that we take a pause for enjoyment ahead of time; Enjoy the sun on a bench in the birch shade and watch the goings-on on the glider airfield in the distance.
August 11, 2021
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