Earth from Space: The Netherlands

21 November 2008

This Envisat image features the Netherlands, with the capital city of Amsterdam visible in white on the south bank of the waterway (North Sea Canal) extending in an east-west direction left above image centre.

Above the North Sea Canal between the North Sea (left) and the Markermeer (a shallow lake in the centre of the country), the southern part of the province of North Holland is visible. Located on the eastern (right) side of the Markermeer is the province of Flevoland, a very flat area made up of reclaimed land that is used for agriculture.

The port of Rotterdam (visible in bottom left corner) and the province of Zeeland, are both visible at the bottom left of the image. Rotterdam port is the largest port in Europe, stretching over 40 km in length and covering 10 000 hectares. It has a depth of 24 m.

Rotterdam (visible inland from the port) is the country’s second largest city after Amsterdam. The city centre is situated on the northern bank of the New Meuse River, which divides the municipality into its northern and southern parts.

The Hague, the country’s third largest city, is visible along the coast above the port of Rotterdam. The Hague will play host to ministers in charge of space activities within the 18 ESA Member States and Canada on 25 and 26 November 2008 when the Agency will implement the European Space Policy, setting out the start of future programmes and taking decisions on the next phases of on-going programmes.

Just north of the Hague is the coastal town of Noordwijk, home to ESA's European Space Technology Research Centre (ESTEC). The Netherlands’ fourth largest city, Utrecht, is clearly seen in white to the right below image centre.

Because radar images represent surface backscatter rather than reflected light, there is no colour in a standard radar image. Instead the colour in this image is due to it being a multitemporal composite, made up of three Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) images acquired on different dates, with separate colours assigned to each acquisition.

In this composite, blue relates to an acquisition on 12 March 2008, green to one on 30 July 2008 and red to one on 28 November 2007.

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