Den Helder lighthouse on point of collapse; Area cordoned off
The lighthouse known as Lange Jaap in the Kijkduin in Den Helder has large cracks in it and may be on the point of collapse. The municipality cordoned off an area of 70 meters around the structure while the consequences of the cracks are being investigated, caretaker Minister Barbara Visser of Infrastructure and Water Management said in a letter to parliament, NU.nl reports.
It was already known that the 144-year-old lighthouse had some cracks, but these were "not of such a nature that immediate action had to be taken," Visser said. The new large cracks were discovered during maintenance works. "The conclusion is that the structural safety cannot be guaranteed at the moment," Visser wrote, adding that the lighthouse could topple the next time there is a strong wind.
The municipality of Den Helder therefore closed down Zeeweg and the Schapendijke in Huisduinen, as well as pastures within a radius of 70 meters around the lighthouse. The nearby riding school and tennis club, as well as Fort Erfprins, are still accessible.
The consequences of the cracks in Lange Jaap are currently being investigated, Visser said. Public works department Rijswaterstaat will also look into whether other old lighthouses are having similar problems.