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Winter at Valkenburg, 1982
Marinevliegkamp Valkenburg (EHVB) was located between Wassenaar and Katwijk, north of The Hague on the west coast of Holland. It was the home base of the Lockheed-Martin P-3C Orions that were  sold to Germany and Portugal. The Marineflieger took the last P-3 to its home base Nordholz in March 2006. The base closed in December 2006.

It all started back in 1938, when the Dutch government decided to construct some new airfields in the neighbourhood of The Hague, the residence of the government and the royal family. Construction of Valkenburg started in 1939.

The first aircraft to land on the grass airstrip was a Fokker reconnaissance plane. Although this was a very light plane, its undercarriage sank slowly into the mud. And so did most of the 50 German Junkers 52 cargo planes that landed at Valkenburg in the early morning of 10 May 1940, when The Netherlands were invaded by the Nazis. These planes became sitting ducks for Dutch fighter aircraft and artillery, so many were destroyed and others heavily damaged. During World War II, Valkenburg was enlarged by the German Air Force and a concrete runway was constructed. The Germans operated Messerschmidt Bf-109s and Focke Wulf Fw-190s from the base, but only for short periods.

When the Allied forces liberated Holland in May 1945, Valkenburg was put into service by the British Royal Air Force. British troops built a new runway of perforated steel plates in just a few days time. The Royal Dutch Air Force started to use the base after the RAF had left, but on 15 October 1947 the airfield was handed over to the Navy.

In February 1953 the base played a important role after the south western province of Zeeland was partially flooded by the sea. Hundreds of relief flights were flown from Valkenburg. The last RNLAF unit, operating transport aircraft, moved from Valkenburg in 1957. Two years later a new runway was taken in use.
In 1978, the government bought 13 P-3C Orions to replace the old SP-2H Neptunes. This also meant an extensive modernisation programme for the base: new hangers, control tower and improved runways and taxiways. The first Orions arrived on 21 July 1982.

Valkenburg was the 'gateway' to The Netherlands for all VIPs visiting the Dutch government and royal family. All except the largest aircraft could land at Valkenburg.

In 2003 the government decided to sell the P-3s and close the airbase. Germany bought eight Orions and send some crews to Valkenburg to training. The Germans were the first to use the base... and were the last.
Neptune and Atlantic in 1980, seen from the old tower


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SP-2H Neptune short finals
SP-13A Atlantic F27 Friendship, SP-2H Neptune and SP-13A Atlantic
Tu-134 Ukraine Air Force
KV107 (Hkp4A) Swedish Navy
AH-1F Cobra US Army
TF-104G Marineflieger F-8 Crusader French navy
MLD-aircraft and helicopters at Valkenburg 1950 - 2006
1950                AT-16 Harvard, Auster, B-25 Mitchell, Firefly, Oxford, PBY-5 Catalina, Sea Fury, Sea Otter
1955                AT-16 Harvard, Auster, Firefly, HU-19F, P2V-5 Neptune, PBY-5 Catalina, PV-2 Harpoon, S-51, Sea Fury, SNB-5 Navigator,
                        TBM-3 Avenger, TC-45J Navigator
1960                AT-16 Harvard, Avenger, Firefly, HU-19F, Meteor, P2V-5 Neptune, S-2A Tracker, Sea Hawk, SNB-5 Navigator, TBM-3 Avenger,
                        TC-45J Navigator, Tiger Moth
1965                AB.204B, S-2A Tracker, SH-34J, SP-2H Neptune, TC-45J Navigator, Tiger Moth
1970                AB.204B, S-2N Tracker, SP-2H Neptune, SP-13A Atlantic, TC-45J Navigator, U/SH-34J
1975                AB.204B, S-2N Tracker, SP-2H Neptune, SP-13A Atlantic
1980                SP-2H Neptune, SP-13A Atlantic
1985                P-3C Orion
July 2006 >     nothing left