Bad Bentheim Quarry, Germany by Peter Bergen Henegouwen

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Bentheim sandstone was mined in quarries in the County of Bentheim in Germany and was called "Bentheimerstraat Gold. The first mention of mining sandstone dating from around 1250. At the height of production and trade around 1600, there were nine quarries in operation. The largest was between Bad Bentheim and Schüttorf.

The Bentheim sandstone was traded to the Münsterland centuries, to East Friesland and the Netherlands. Because of the high cost of transport, the Bentheim sandstone was mainly used in important buildings like the City Hall and Royal Palace in Amsterdam. Also the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in New York is made of Bentheim sandstone.

I was looking for the origins of the Amsterdam Royal Palace and after some research found that it came all the way from Bad Bentheim in Germany. Not too far for a weekend visit I went there to have a look around and obviously I found the quarry. Although the size of the quarry is not very impressive, it still made me wonder however they transported these heavy blocks from this mountain all the way to Amsterdam. The ground was soft and in places (where the photo was taken) boggy. It cannot have been so all these centuries ago.

Autumn colours and the winter days of this quarry kept me walking around and admiring for a couple of hours until it became too dark (and spooky) for photography. Only then I realized I had still an hours’ walk back to my hotel. But I found the visit quite satisfying. Next time I visit Amsterdam I will have a different look at the palace on Dam square.

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