Are the Dutch building a fake mountain?

The Netherlands are known for a lot of things (cheese, windmills, tulips!), but mountains aren’t exactly one of them. In fact, the country is famously flat, with more than a quarter of its land falling below sea level. But there is a movement afoot to change all that, and the Dutch are seriously considering building an artificial mountain designed to attract skiers, climbers, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

The idea for this fake mountain started when a journalist by the name of Thijs Zonneveld wrote a satirical piece suggesting the country overcome its lack of altitude by building an artificial peak. It was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but the idea struck a chord with architectural firm Hoffers and Kruger, who put together the blueprints for a 7000-foot tall mountain. From there the idea only snowballed, gaining endorsements from the Dutch Ski Association, Dutch Climbing and Mountaineering Association, and Royal Dutch Cycling Union.

Now the project seems to have taken on a life of its own. A number of major corporations have reportedly inquired about sponsoring the construction and several Dutch municipalities have petitioned to be the home of the mountain. A research group has even been formed to explore the possibilities of actually taking the design off the drawing board and making it a reality.

The basic design is for a massive metal skeleton to be built and then covered in natural materials using technologies and processes that already exist. That design would include areas specifically constructed for skiing, climbing, mountain biking, trekking, and more. Even more amazing, the interior of the mountain would actually be hollow, housing a city that would include resorts, shops, transportation, and homes.

But don’t start planning your next alpine escape to Holland just yet. If the country does decide to go ahead with construction, it could take as much as 30 years to complete and cost somewhere between $60 billion and $420 billion. Considering the current economy, the price tag could keep this project from ever getting off the ground.