Radio Kootwijk is a former radio station from the Dutch Communication Service (PTT). It is situated at the other end of the Kootwijkerzand, about seven kilometers from the little village of Kootwijk in the province of Gelderland, East Netherlands. In the years after WO II several Würzburg reflectors from the Atlantikwall, that the Germands had erected along the European coast, were moved to here. One of them was given to the Dutch Association for Radio Emission of the Sun and the Milky Way in 1948. From this spot, on may 11 1951, the 21cm hydrogen radioemission was detected for the very first time in the Netherlands. It was also here that between 1952 and 1955 the unique data, that led to the first maps of the Galaxy, were collected. The terrain of the radio station is now being returned to Nature. There are still several buildings, among which Building A, also called the Cathedral. What exactly happened with the Würzburg-telescope is not clear. Some say it was moved to the radio-observatory at Dwingeloo, but it is not found there and no official papers point in that direction. Others say the telescope broke down after years of good service. Science journalist George Beekman has investigated the matter of the Dutch Würzburg telescopes and he published his findings in the april 1999 issue of the popular dutch astronomy journal Zenit. [see Backgrond for pdf of the article, Dutch only]

After the Dutch version of this website went online on april 4 2009, a visitor (M. Groenewegen) sent a message with the following information and photos (the text has been adapted for publication here):

In August of 1966, the community of Radio Kootwijk was transferred from Barneveld to Apeldoorn (two small cities). The border went right through a tennis court. It was a very tight community with 37 families and one hotel for visitors. I was born and grew up there and I remember exactly where the Würzburg-telescope stood.


(photo from the booklet AO, 423 IVIO Association, see below)

There was also a parabolic dish build in a huge hole in the ground. We called it the radar-hole.


(photo from booklet AO 423 IVIO Association, see below)

When this parabolic dish was not used any more we, Kootwijk's youth, used it as a biking circuit! By the end of the 1960s the hole was filled with rubbish and concrete and the concrete base of the Würzburg-telescope was taken away.


(concrete base of the Würzburg-telescope, photo by M. Groenewegen, 1964)

In 1955 the Würzburg-telescope was taken away to be destroyed.

On this map I marked with a blue dot the place of the Würzburg-telescope and with a light-blue dot the place of the radar-hole.


All that is left now is a picknick table. The Würzburg-telescope stood at the place where is now the small green tree in the photo (Arie Hin also took a photo of the picknick table back in 1999. During our visit to the site for the filming on a cold, grey day in january 2009, we were not able to find it back).


(photo by M. Groenewegen)

I come back to this place from time to time and I think about the research that was done here. In fact, I think a memorial should be erected here!

This idea was developed and thanks to the efforts and support of many, on may 11, 2011, 60 years after first detection of the 21cm emission at Radio Kootwijk, an informationboard was inaugurated at the Turfberg, where the old radio dish once stood. See, read and hear all about it on the astrowiki and links therein (dutch only).

The photo's from the Würzburg-telescope and the radar-hole come from the booklet AO 423 weekly study series of the IVIO Association, entitled 'Kootwijk listens to the Sun'.


[website about Radio Kootwijk, Dutch only]

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