discovered the HSL tunnel somewhere in the summer of
2003. It's so long ago I've forgotten the month. I saw
the building site from the train, on my daily commute,
and I simply had to see it up close.
The obvious entrance was near the Blijdorp
Zoo. One section of perimeter had no fence, so I
could walk right in. Not even a "no
entry" sign. Easy!
The lights were on already at 20:00. Light
that shine during daytime have an uncanny feeling
around them. I'm planning to write about that in
an "Urban Spooklights" page.
Unfortunately what looked like a very
promising tunnel ended much too soon.
But the endig was nicely unfinished, giving
me a lot to look at. I like that modern-art
"earthworks" look. This would fit in a
"land art" exhibition.
And I saw the most beautiful
dried-up mud that I've ever encountered. You
could win a photography contest with this stuff.
More minimalist art. This time
someone had tried to copy a Donald Judd of a
The tunnel ended in a
huge deep swimming pool. I was 4 meters below the
water table. The only thing that protected me
from drowning was a flimsy wall of 3 cm thick
Pumps were busy all around, creating
industry-grade fountains. Not those thin water
sprays from your park-fountains, but waterspouts
for "real men".
Water seemed to be the greatest
danger. There were a lot of "Mortal Danger -
Quicksand" notices all around.
getting dark quickly and I had exhausted the easy
risk-free opportunities. A few days later I
returned with Ben and Angelo.
obvious entrance was near Zestienhoven airport.
The high-speed rail-line cuts through an unused
city park here. In the future it will connect
Brussels with Amsterdam.
Because it's such a critical
piece of infrastructure it's guarded permanently
by two guys in a hot air balloon.
Fortunately someone had left the
fence open by 50 cm, so we could enter with
"plausible deniability." The "do
not enter" signs were 4 meters to our right,
so we could claim that we hadn't seen them.
underground looked very inviting. We quickly
descended the noisy steel stairs and I was
relieved when we were out of sight. Entry is
always the most risky moment.
After descending the stairs we ended up in
At the end was some huge construction.
It had a claustrophobic walkway in the
And after walking through the construction
you entered a smooth square tunnel.
Soon after this I chickened out -
especially after Ben and Angelo started opening
containers with tools and machinery and
inspecting the contents. To me it felt too much
like "braking and entering". Also I was
a bit worried about my car. Meanwhile Ben and
Angelo walked the whole tunnel to it's logical
Then we took the car in the direction of
Bergschenhoek to see more of the HSL. But here
construction hadn't progressed much. The viaducts
were in place, but the rest of the track was
virgin bare earth.
We finished our exploration when there were
no viaducts anymore.
Meanwhile the guards in the hot air balloon
had followed us closely. See how high the
security is around this site!