Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

The Netherlands are a tiny, yet densly populated country. However, there are also some remote places. One is the so-called “Veluwe” area in the East of the country. It was there, in the midst of nothing more than woods, heather and strange in-land sand dunes, close to the town of Apeldoorn, that in 1918 the construction of a massive structure was started, the so-called “Radio Kootwijk”.

An illustration by Dutch artist Joost Veerkamp on veerkamp.nl


Radio Kootwijk was a short wave transmitter site to better facilitate contact with the Dutch colonies, particularly with the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia).

The main building of the transmitter park (referred to as 'Building A', 'The Cathedral' or 'The Sphynx') was designed by Dutch architect Julius Maria Luthmann in Art Deco Style.

Building “A” of Radio Kootwijk. Source: zoom.nl

The building of Radio Kootwijk in 1922. Source: wikipedia


At the end of World War II, the German ccupying forces blew up the transmitter. Some of the radio towers were rebuilt after the war. Due to the development of new technologies like satellite communication, Radio Kootwijk lost its position as main overseas wireless connection point of the Netherlands. In 1980, the last transmission mast was blown up.

Until 2005 the site was closed off by a fence. Since the opening of the area, this impressive site attracts many photographers. If you search on flickr or other sources you will many pictures of Radio Kootwijk. Most impressive are the ones in “threatening” weather situations.

Building “A” of Radio Kootwijk. Source: wikipedia

Source: fotolocatie.nl

Source: mijngelderland.nl

An illustration by Dutch artist Joost Veerkamp on veerkamp.nl

Poster to remember the First call between The Netherlands and Dutch East India. Source: terras.tv

Poster from 1923. Source: terras.tv

Advertisement. Source: terras.tv

And various (interiors) from terras.tv :

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Comment by Dieter Marquardt on January 11, 2012 at 1:05pm
This reminds me: all German speakers can find a German version on my blog: http://cafemarquardt.blogspot.com/
Just recently started I anyway need some more followers ;)
Comment by Dr. Zarkov on January 11, 2012 at 11:32am

Hallo Dieter, wir könnten natürlich auch Deutsch schreiben, das ist ja schließlich meine Muttersprache:-) But we could also write in english, so rest will understand us, too. ;)

Comment by lojzo on January 11, 2012 at 8:00am

Very nice building! Thank you, Dieter.

Comment by Dieter Marquardt on January 10, 2012 at 12:42pm
@Dr. Zarkov: geen dank! Het goede ligt soms dichtbij huis. Een uitgebreide bezoek staat ook op mijn verlanglijst om eens eigen foto's te nemen. Oder muessen wir deutsch sprechen? :)
Comment by Dr. Zarkov on January 10, 2012 at 12:04pm

Geweldig! This is about 100 km from here, I'm interested in radio (I even have an amateur licence), I speak Dutch, I'ven been in Apeldoorn before and even spend my holiday in the Veluwe, and never heard about Radio Kootwijk! This will be a destination for a trip when the weather becomes better. Hartelijk bedankt :-)

Comment by Cap'n Tony on January 10, 2012 at 8:47am

Sphinx...how appropos!  It really does look like a piece out of 1984 or Brazil, particularly in that second image.  In the old pics with the transmitter equipment still there it looks like a quinessential Mad Scientist lair.  How has the movie industry NOT found this place?!?

Comment by Dieter Marquardt on January 9, 2012 at 3:48pm
Pleasure to solve a mystery! The Tatra must have been dwarfed by this giant.
Comment by lord_k on January 9, 2012 at 3:31pm

Amazing! Believe me or not, I never heard about it. But some years ago I've seen a very dystopian photograph of the Tatra 603 standing in front of a rather unusual structure. And here it is!

I can add that a building from my dreams, for some irrational reason called "The Institute", has a lot in common with Radio Kootwijk.

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