Brunssum, the Netherlands
- On Wednesday 10th
May, a group of school children aged 11-12 from ‘De Caleidoscoop’ school, Brunssum, visited the headquarters as part of a NATO project entitled 'De Soldatenmijn'
(the Military Mine). The pupils were guests of HQ Joint Force Command Brunssum (HQ JFCBS), based at the Hendrik van Nassau Ouwerkerk Camp, the former site of the Hendrik State Mine in Brunssum.
The children are quiet and paying attention. Better than in my class!
Together with their teacher, Mr Guido Verkerk, the children entered the grounds through the old main entrance on the Akerstraat. There they were met by Lieutenant Colonel Bart Bams of HQ JFCBS, and given a 90-minute presentation followed by a tour of the grounds lasting almost an hour.
The presentation talked about the rise, heyday and fall of the Dutch mining industry and the associated socio-economic consequences. It also described the measures the Dutch government took to attract replacement employment to this area. One of those measures was the bringing in of the NATO headquarters (then known as HQ AFCENT) from France in 1967.
During the tour, which lasted almost an hour, Lt Col Bams pointed out a few things about the site that are still reminders of the state mine.
“The children are quiet and paying attention. Better than in my class!”, said Mr Verkerk.
To strengthen the relationship between HQ JFCBS and the community, HQ JFCBS has started two projects, namely the school project mentioned above and another similar project in which the local community will be invited to take part over the summer holidays.
If successful, these projects will become permanent. Keep an eye on the local media for future announcements.