History of Soesterberg Air Base in a nutshell


– 1910: car dealers Verwey and Lugard from the town of The Hague established a heathland near Soesterberg as an airfield.
– 1913: the Dutch army established an aviation department and designated Soesterberg as its location.
– 1918: Soesterberg had grown into a full-fledged military airport. The small fleet of aircraft is expanded with about 70 foreign aircraft that ended up on Dutch soil during the World War I.
– 1938: due to the proposed expansion of the number of aircraft, Soesterberg became too small and too vulnerable to locate all aircraft in one location. It was decided to build three new airports in the Netherlands. A tea house had been built at the airport, called Soesterdal, from where interested parties could follow the flight movements.


– 1940: the Germans bombed the air base at the beginning of the World War II. After the capitulation of the Netherlands, the Germans restored the airport and expanded it into a large complex with three runways, taxi tracks and extensive spread of aircraft stands. Heinkel He 111 bombers were stationed there.
– 1941-1944: between the end of 1941 and 1944, Dornier Do 217s carried out bombing flights from Soesterberg.
– 1944: On 11 April 1945, the Germans finally left the airfield after destroying it.
– 1945-1950: the air base was restored.


– 1951: the field had been rebuilt and is operational.
– From 1951: fighter aircraft are stationed at the base, initially Gloster Meteors and later Hawker Hunters and F-86K Sabres. Helicopters and transport aircraft were also stationed at Soesterberg during this time frame.
– 1953: the aviation department was recognized as an independent part of the Dutch armed forces; it was named Royal Netherlands Air Force.
– 1954: due to the threat from the Eastern Bloc, a squadron of the United States Air Force was stationed at Soesterberg, the 32nd ‘Wolfhouds’ squadron. They helped defend the airspace of the Netherlands. The unit flew the F-86 Sabre and later the F-100 Super Sabre, F-102 Delta Dagger, F-4E Phantom and finally the F-15 Eagle. The part of the base that the Americans used was called Camp New Amsterdam.
– 1992: the transport fleet of the RNLAF moved to Eindhoven Air Base in the Southern parts of The Netherlands.
– 1994: with the ending of the Cold War, the Americans significantly reduced their units in Europe. The curtain also fell for the Wolfhounds at Soesterberg. In 1994 the Americans left Soesterberg Air Base. The stationed helicopters of the Royal Netherlands Air Force remained at the air base.


– 2008: the air base closed and was converted into a nature park. The National Military Museum became an important part of the park. The former American part of the base is still in use for military purposes. The storage facility for the Dutch Central Bank’s gold stock is also housed here. A restaurant has also been built on the site, which again bears the name Soesterdal.
– 2022: a monument is unveiled in Soesterberg, close to the former air base, that should permanently remember the presence of the Americans in Soesterberg.

Memories from spotters
Some of the history of Soesterberg Air Base can also be found in the memories that a few aircraft spotters trusted to paper in past times:

Soesterberg fifties memories
Memories from Bram Faasse