Moon rock in the Netherlands

The 'moon rock' as it was presented at the Rijksmuseum in 1996.The moon rock that was a prized part of the collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam turned out to be false. A few weeks ago researchers of the Vrije University announced that the moon rock was in fact petrified wood, possibly from Arizona.

The 'moon rock' had been a gift to Prime Minister Willem Drees by the American Ambassador when the three Apollo 11 astronauts visited the Netherlands in 1969.

After Willem Drees passed away in 1988, the moon rock was presented to the Rijksmuseum. According to Novum/AP this may have been where things got a little confused:

"Spokeswoman Xandra van Gelder said that after it received the moon rock in 1992 from the heirs of Mr. Drees the museum verified with NASA if this was indeed a moon rock. Without physical inspection, NASA said it was 'possibly' a moon rock. However, the rock was 89 grams -- much bigger than most other moon rocks that the US government has given to other countries over the years.

The Epoch Times adds: "There is much speculation about the purpose of giving the stone as a gift. Was the stone intentionally given to mislead people, or did Drees misinterpret the gift?

Van Gelder continued, "On the card that was given along with the stone, it did not literally say that it was a moon stone ... But what is odd about it: 'Why would you give such an insignificant stone as a keepsake?' I don’t get that."

In any case, you won't have to go without seeing moon stone in Netherlands this fall. The Boerhaave Museum in Leiden has extended their moon exhibition with 4 weeks, and through September 30 you can visit their display of undisputed moon rock.

Two tiny pieces of moon rock are on display in Leiden; one from Apollo 11 from Mare Tranquillitatis, the other from Apollo 17, the last flight to the moon. Both were gifts by President Nixon to Queen Juliana who donated them to the museum.

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