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The compelling history of ASTRON's 75 years: "The sky's the limit"

The compelling history of ASTRON's 75 years: “The sky's the limit”

Although Elzinga himself only worked for a year and a half on behalf of ASTRON, he has collected a lot of images in recent years. He came to work at Dwingeloo, but enjoyed a trip to the radio telescopes at Westerbork. “It's actually out of this world. It stimulates your imagination because these things are directed toward the universe. What do they receive? Is there life? UFOs? It's actually a very exciting thing. To me, it's still impressive.”

But getting scientists to Westerbork was not easy. At the time the government designated the site, it was still used as Woonoord Schattenberg. In order to build the radio telescopes, Barracks No. 80 and Barracks 1, 3, 4, 5 and 101 had to be demolished because they were in the way. With the arrival of telescopes, the province wanted to make the place a “worthy destination” of peace and quiet.

The residents of the barracks at Moluccan were asked to leave, but they refused, after which an “army of fifty Assen police officers armed with carbines, including ten on horseback” was deployed. “Windows were smashed to let the dilapidated furniture out through the windows, where it was loaded onto trucks,” the newspaper Dagblad Van Nederland wrote on that infamous January day in 1966.

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