The Rise of Radio Astronomy in the Netherlands

The People and the Politics

  • Astrid Elbers

Part of the Historical & Cultural Astronomy book series (HCA)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Astrid Elbers
    Pages 1-6
  3. Astrid Elbers
    Pages 61-116
  4. Astrid Elbers
    Pages 117-167
  5. Astrid Elbers
    Pages 169-227
  6. Astrid Elbers
    Pages 229-236
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 237-240

About this book


Radio astronomy was born during the Second World War, but as this book explains, the history of early Dutch radio astronomy is in several respects rather anomalous in comparison to the development of radio astronomy in other countries. The author describes how these very differences led the Netherlands to become one of the world leaders in radio astronomy. Dominated by the Leiden astronomer Jan Hendrik Oort, the field embarked on an era of success, and to this day, the country still holds this leading position.

To tell this story, the book focuses on three key events in the period 1940-1970, namely the construction of the radio telescopes in Kootwijk (1948), in Dwingeloo (1956), and in Westerbork (1970). These projects show that Dutch radio astronomers must not be seen as merely scientists, but also as strategic lobbyists, networkers and organizers in a specific political and economic context. It was in the process of planning, designing and constructing these instruments that the interests of the astronomers, industrial partners, politicians and lobby groups merged to create today's existing research centers for radio astronomy.


Jan hendrik Oort Kootwijk radio telescope Westerbork radio telescope Marcel Minnaert Dwingeloo radio telescope Benelux Cross Antenna Project Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope

Authors and affiliations

  • Astrid Elbers
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AntwerpInstitute for Language and Communication University of AntwerpAntwerpenBelgium

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