Date: September 24–27, 2007
Location: Soest and Zeist
Sponsor: Province of Utrecht and the cities of Soest and Zeist
Chair: James M. DeFrancia
Subject Area: Military Base Redevelopment
Summary of Recommendations
The panel was asked to recommend a vision for new land use of the Soesterberg Airbase in the province of Utrecht, located in central Netherlands. The panel suggested that the former airbase be converted into a National Peace Park and Defense Museum. This development would result in a museum of national defense heritage sharing the same space as an extensive natural park dedicated to peace.
The panel believed that the whole redevelopment was a national undertaking, benefiting all of the Netherlands; therefore it was proposed by the panel to be funded primarily on a national basis. Four major concepts had been recommended by the panel that could be applied to concrete redevelopment tactics in later stages. First was the redevelopment of the town of Soesterberg, with focus on integrating it with the museum. The second concept was to strengthen existing connections and gateways to the site from all surrounding areas. The third concept was for the creation of Peace Park to be done in environmental sensitive way, preserving all the biodiversity that already existed there. Lastly, the establishment of the Museum District, which would be the location of much adaptive reuse, would celebrate the connected roles of peacekeeping and national defense. Another very important part of the redevelopment was to “brand” the site in order for it to garner national and international interest. If the community collaborated effectively with the federal government, the former military airbase would become one of the Netherlands most exciting attractions.