Nearly two years after the Netherlands made waves in the gold market when it announced that it had secretly repatriated 122 tons of physical gold from the New York Fed, this morning there was another surprising announcement out of the Dutch central bank which said is was planning to move the country’s gold reserves from the centre of Amsterdam to land owned by the defence ministry near Zeist. According to a statement by the bank, the security measures necessary to guard the gold are a problem for both staff and visitors, and as a result it would transfer the assets to a safer location.
Gold stored in the central bank vaults. Photo: DNB
The aim is to move the gold to the new location, Camp New Amsterdam, at the beginning of 2022. The new complex, dubbed the Cash Centre, will also be used to sort and distribute bank notes and to hunt for fake cash.
According to official data, some 189 tons of gold are stored in Amsterdam but the bank has total reserves of 612 tons. In order to spread the risk, Dutch gold is also held in central banks in New York, Ottawa and London.
Camp New Amsterdam, also known as Soesterberg Air Base, was a Royal Netherlands Air Force military air base located in Soesterberg, 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) east-northeast of Utrecht. It was first established as an airfield in 1911, and in 1913, the Dutch Army bought the field and established the Army Aviation Division.
For almost 40 years, United States Air Force facilities at Soesterberg, named Camp New Amsterdam was a major front line USAFE air base during the Cold War. The base was closed on 31 December 2008, due to budget cuts in the Dutch Army. The air base ceased flying operations on 12 November 2008, when the command was transferred from the Dutch Air Force to Dutch Defense who will take care of the base until it will be given back to nature. The last fighter ever to depart, delayed due bad weather at Aviano AB, was a Greek F-4E Phantom II. The former USAFE part stays in military hands, and will now officially be called Camp New Amsterdam.
Aside from the greater security, the central bank says that "Camp New Amsterdam is one of the sites of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee. They play a key role in the Netherlands in securing cash transports by De Nederlandsche Bank."
A quick look at the map of the facility may explain the move: with an airfield on the location, the newly moved gold can be promptly loaded up on a plane and transferred to "other locations" at a moment's notice. A map of the air base is shown below:
Below is the official statement from the Dutch Central Bank
De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) intends to move its banknote activities and the gold vaults to Camp New Amsterdam, a Ministry of Defence site in the municipality of Zeist.
DNB wants to renovate its offices at Westeinde 1 in Amsterdam, but will be moving its gold vaults and banknote activities to Camp New Amsterdam. The decision was taken because the presence of the banknote activities and the gold vaults demand very tight security measures, which more and more interfere with staff and visitor accessibility. Besides, regular cash transport through the centre of Amsterdam has also become a complex matter.
De Nederlandsche Bank and the Ministry of Defence are currently working out the plans for new development.
The new Cash Centre will become operational at the beginning of 2022. Camp New Amsterdam is one of the sites of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee. They play a key role in the Netherlands in securing cash transports by De Nederlandsche Bank.
Functions of the Cash Centre
The new Cash Centre will have several functions. Firstly, it will have a banknote sorting and distribution unit. Cash transports will in the future originate from Camp New Amsterdam to supply professional cash handlers with banknotes and coins. Secondly, it will house the National Analysis Centre for the registration and analysis of counterfeits and a European Test Centre for research into the sustainable use of banknotes. And finally, it will be the site for storing gold, banknotes and coins.
Front desk for the public
DNB will keep its front desk for the public at its head office at Westeinde 1 in Amsterdam. Here, the public can come to exchange old guilder banknotes for euros or hand in damaged euro banknotes.