World of Sport

Dutch to build £270bn fake mountain

World of Sport

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The
Netherlands is to spend thirty years and as much as £270 billion building a
fake mountain to help the famously flat country become a winter sport superpower.

The idea
came from a Dutch sports journalist called Thijs Zonneveld, who suggested in a
tongue-in-cheek article that a man-made mountain should be built to help
overcome the lack of decent hills in his homeland.

But his
cheeky suggestion was taken seriously by Dutch architects' firm Hoffers and
Kruger
, who drew up plans for a 7,000ft mountain - that's twice the height of Snowdon, and far bigger than 4,409ft Ben Nevis.

The plans caught the imagination of the Dutch, and quickly
received backing from the Dutch Ski Association, Dutch Climbing and
Mountaineering Association and Royal Dutch Cycling Union.

Now, local
authorities and several major corporations are getting involved in the idea,
with sponsorship deals on the horizon that could help start the far-fetched plan
on the road to fruition - and the man who had the original idea is delighted.

"This
plan is serious," insisted Zoneeveld. "All kinds of big companies
have now stepped in, various municipalities and investors are interested."

The project
is provisionally named "Die Berg Komt Er", or "The Mountain
Comes", presumably in a reference to the phrase, "bring the mountain
to Mohammed".

A working
group has already been set up to look further at the feasibility of the
project, which is projected to cost anywhere between £40bn and £270bn and take
up to 30 years to build.

The basic
plan is to construct a skeleton which would then be covered in organic material
using technology which already exists to create a truly living mountain - one
which, perhaps even more unbelievably, could be located on land or out at sea.

Even more
surprising, perhaps, the hollow mountain could become a city in itself, with houses,
shops, arenas and even roads and railways within.

And while  the mountain will eventually be used for power
production, housing and water supply, Zonneveld insists that it is the love of
sport which will make it happen.

"Sport
is perhaps the main reason why there is so much attention for this mountain,"
he said. "Sport captures the imagination."

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