Den Helder, Netherlands

Strong together!

After working for almost 45 years at Defense, I can be discharged with functional age (FLO) as of July 1, 2024. Of these 45 years, I worked in air traffic control at De Kooy for 42 years. During those 42 years, I have held various positions within air traffic control, which led me to become involved with Den Helder Airport (DHA) from an early age.

In the early years I did the administration (flight movements) from the military side in consultation with the then secretary of DHA, Conny van den Hoff. Every month we sat together to see if everything was correct. We have also met regularly in recent years, Conny as director of DHA and I for the last 10 years as head of air traffic control.

Den Helder Airport has been connected to Marine/Maritime Airbase de Kooy (MVKK) as a civilian co-user since 1981, where we have strengthened each other over the years. DHA had/has no right to exist without MVKK and the same applies vice versa. The development that the civilian part and the military part have undergone is great. From a station building with 3 spotlights, to a full-fledged airport with a fully equipped security system. And from an old concrete runway without any aids to a modern airport with all facilities. In short, strong together.

We also managed to find each other in the organization of events in recent years, such as local residents and relations days and Heldair shows. Together we have organized great events for the area and aviation enthusiasts. The response from the surrounding area was mainly positive and I still get the question: “When will you organize a Heldair show again”? Unfortunately, I am unable to provide that answer. But this also applies to this: together we are strong.

Attention to the environment remains important. What do we do, why do we do it. It is very important, both military and civilian, that we involve the environment in the airport, listen to each other and inform each other. Once again, strong together.

We will need each other again for future developments. Whether it concerns the continuation of the airport, flying drones, the energy transition or safety in the North Sea. The same applies to all these topics: together we are strong.

I am leaving this beautiful airport as an employee, but will always remain very interested in the future developments of MVKK and DHA, together we are strong!

Jan Verest


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