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Mient Kooltuin · Katwijk, the Netherlands

Envisioning a new recreational landscape

The Mient Kooltuin area stood as one of Katwijk’s last frayed edges, situated between National Park “Hollandse Duinen” and the new town development of Valkenhorst. To define the future character of the area, we crafted a vision that defines possible land use, landscape character and circulation based on its rich history.

Katwijk, the Netherlands
2019 - 2021
Project area
180 ha
Municipality of Katwijk

The vision for Mient Kooltuin centres on reinforcing the identity of the place and its surroundings. This will not only enhance the ecological resilience of the adjacent dune area but also elevate the quality of life for the surrounding residents. Mient Kooltuin will serve as a recreational destination for the existing towns as well as the new Valkenhorst town. As one of the gateway areas to the National Park “Hollandse Duinen,” it serves not only to provide access to the National Park, but also to buffer the recreational pressure from its ecologically sensitive core areas.


Recreational landscape

We envision the Mient Kooltuin as a recreational landscape composed of a variety of public and private leisure and recreational developments. It boasts a gradient from a public, forested landscape bordering a Natura 2000 nature reserve, a transitional zone providing space for a variety of recreational programs and an open area with its parcelled out characteristic, separating the main recreational area from the new Valkenhorst residential area that is currently under development on the former Valkenburg airfield.

Creator of meaningful places
Creator of meaningful places

A wooded zone surrounding the barracks forms the region’s main public leisure area and offers recreational opportunities which include outdoor adventure trails, horseback riding and off-leash dog walking. These activities are not possible within the more sensitive adjacent Natura 2000 territories. A transition zone between the wooded sections will host various recreational functions, serving as a link to the highly valued open meadow landscape that will be further enhanced and accessible.­

Future impact

As the area gradually transforms into a recreational landscape, the ecological values in Mient Kooltuin will be reinforced, not only protecting the Natura 2000 dune area but also improving the ecological role of the Mient Kooltuin itself. Serving as a recreational and hydrological buffer between the dune area and Valkenhorst, Mient Kooltuin will combine recreational development with the preservation of the natural values within the area.

Creator of meaningful places

Building on a rich heritage

In our vision, we combine elements of the area’s rich natural and cultural heritage such as the dunes, the horticultural tradition of bulb cultivation and WWII military history with new recreational uses.

The monumental WWII barracks, disguised as a farmering village, will become the recreational heart of the area and form a link  to the surrounding military heritage of Atlantikwall.  In addition, new uses of the area will include education on the rich biodiversity of the dunes and the purifying effect of the dune complexes for potable water extraction.

Through a participatory design process we explored several options of the vision together with local residents.

Guiding a natural transformation

The vision for the Mient Kooltuin is not a blueprint but rather a starting point for a gradual transformation. Our vision sets the direction for a stronger identity and zoning to support recreational needs and to protect and enhance ecological values around the area. This transformation will remain largely with the different landowners in the area, allowing the vision to help Katwijk facilitate and guide this process.


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