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 Case summary

UFOON is an online Dutch reporting centre where people can phone or write to in case they want to report a personal UFO sighting. It is an initiative of the UFO Werkgroep Nederland (UWN), a competent team of investigators with a résumé stacked with cases that were successfully identified through their efforts. The following photo was received by UFOON on Sunday, May 27, 2007:

gray disc over Groningen

The sender, who is also the author of the photo, is Jeroen EEFTING, a resident from the city of Groningen located in the northern part of The Netherlands. Jeroen added the following comment:

I happened to look out of the window when I saw this thing. It looked exactly like the pictures you always see with those UFOs in them. It is probably a balloon. It moved slowly and disappeared behind the trees. I took a picture of it and am thinking of putting it online, to see what others think about it.

- "Overzicht ontvangen UFO-meldingen" in UFO Nieuwsbrief, Vol. 12, No. 2 (2007), p. 20. UFO Nieuwsbrief is published by UFO Werkgroep Nederland ( Our thanks to Frits WESTRA of UWN for his kind cooperation.


Soon after receipt of the report, an investigator of UWN called the police in Groningen. Surprisingly, the female officer who answered the phone replied that she had seen the same thing that same Sunday. She added that there was no doubt that the object was a balloon, adding that there had been a balloon festival on that particular afternoon on the grounds of the city's soccer field.

Further inquiries learned that a special-shape balloon looking like a flying saucer had indeed taken off during the first edition of "Ballon Fiësta", an event organized by the community of Groningen in collaboration with the local soccer club VELOCITAS 1897.

Independence Day balloon

The hot-air balloon that prompted Jeroen to contact UFO Werkgroep Nederland, photographed here at the soccer field just minutes before it passed Jeroen's window. The balloon caused confusion on other occasions as well. It was constructed in 1996 as a promotion stunt for the video release of the SF movie Independence Day. Since 1996 it has flown over dozens of countries around the world.

[Image borrowed with permission from - images of two more special shape balloons that took off from the same soccer field that afternoon (one in the shape of a frog, the other in the shape of a peacock) can be found in our gallery of special shape balloons]

 Our opinion

Jeroen's impression that the object was not a UFO but a balloon proved correct. The object was soon identified as a special shape balloon that took part in a balloon festival held that day at a soccer field in a more southern part of the city.