Unique Places in Netherlands

  • Windmill Oranjemolen
    Windmill Oranjemolen
    by vtveen
  • The small port of Marken
    The small port of Marken
    by Pijlmans
  • Barge leaving the Locks
    Barge leaving the Locks
    by hanleo46

Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Netherlands

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    Tholen: Our Lady Church, most remarkable

    by vtveen Written Jun 25, 2012

    During our stay in Bergen op Zoom we made a %[http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/21892f/]bike ride to the island of Tholen and visited the Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk (Our Lady Church) in the town of Tholen.

    After some shopping and having a lunch, we walked to church, which is located just outside the very center. It is situated on a green meadow-like square and is surrounded by small houses, making this 13th-century church even more impressive with its tower of a height of nearly 50-meters.

    Upon arrival we first did take a look in the 'normal' church on the left-hand side. Although quite impressive by its size, nice pulpit and large organ is all pretty bare, like almost all protestant churches. The special part of the Our Lady Church is on the right-hand side from the entrance. This is the former choir of the church, now separated by a wall.

    This part is one of the most remarkable churches we have ever seen. The floor is almost completely covered with tombstones and the pillars on either side of the choir have a distinctive red color. Between two pillars hangs a painted panel with the 'Ten Commandments'. There is another panel (from 1755), against the wall between the transept and the choir.
    We also looked into the small consistory.

    Location: Tholen (city), about 12 kilometers from Bergen Op Zoom, the church is located in the center.
    Opening: Wednesday and Saturday afternoons - 13.30 to 17.00 hours - during the summer season (late April to mid October), see the website for exact dates.
    English brochure: http://www.hgtholen.nl/attachments/article/downloads/Englisch.pdf
    More pictures and info:www.archimon.nl/zeeland/tholenherv.html

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

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    Assen - Drents Museum

    by vtveen Written Dec 13, 2011

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    Although Assen is dating back to the 13th century - when the monastery Mariënkamp (or Maria in Campis) was transferred to the town - it doesn’t really look like an old city. The oldest and most interesting part of the town is situated around the Brink, a village green in the centre of the town.

    The monastery doesn’t exist any longer and on their site are a couple of historical buildings (former Provincial Government Building, Drostenhuis - former home of the home Queens Commissioner, Kloosterkerk/Abdijkerk - once belonging to the monastery and the Ontvangershuis - the former Tax Collectors House).
    All these buildings now house parts of the Drents Museum.

    We visited the Drents Museum, especially for an exhibition of ‘China’s Golden Age’. The museum often has very interesting and famous temporary exhibitions like this one. In the past they had for instance exhibitions like ‘Gold from Georgia’ and ‘The Terracotta Army of Xián’. The other day I heard on TV something about an upcoming exhibition about the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’.
    If interested in one of these ‘international’ exhibitions you should take look at the museum website.

    But the museum offers a lot more, varying from (pre)historic artifacts from the province of Drenthe, including so called bog bodies and the huge tusks of a mammoth, an extensive art collection and period rooms showing how families of Drenthe lived in the past.

    Walking through the museum is walking through different architecture styles: modern in the new exhibition room and museum shop, gothic in the former Provincial Government Building with a beautiful tiled staircase and the nicely decorated Statenzaal and Ontvangershuis and Kloosterkerk dating back to the middle ages.

    When we were finished with our visit, we ended in Café Krul (inside the museum). They often adjust their menu to the temporary exhibitions; so we had a Chinese lunch.

    For current exhibitions, opening hours, entrance fee and directions see the website of the Drents Museum.

    Brink1, Assen / in the centre of the city, couple of minutes from the railway station.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Architecture

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    Hasselt, see the rare Snake's Head flowers

    by vtveen Updated Nov 13, 2011

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    Snake’s Head has a couple of names, like Snake’s Head Fritillary, Checkered Daffodil, Chess Flower and Leper Lily. In the Netherlands it is called ‘kievitsbloem’ and it is a very rare flower. Most of them – about 80% - can be found around the city of Hasselt in the province of Overijssel.
    Sometimes there are many flowering together and people call it the natural bulb fields of the Netherlands. It is commonly found growing in grasslands in damp soils and river meadows along the rivers ‘de Vecht’ and ‘Zwarte Water’. Snake’s Heads are flowering from mid April till early May.

    From Hasselt there are two ways to see these rare flowers:
    - by a guided tour (boat/covered wagon)
    This tour will bring you to a nature reserve called ‘De Brommerd. These tours and the number of people on each tour are rather limited. For more information about these tours: VVV (Tourist) Shop in Hasselt: phone 038-4771329 or 'Staatsbosbeheer' phone 0561-477272.
    Commonly these tours are organized around April 20 and April 25.

    - on your own (as we did during a bike trip from Hasselt)
    Walk, bike or drive to Gennerdijk, near nr. 6; walking/biking 3,5 km’s, driving 4,5 km’s and you must walk a couple of hundred meters. Along the Gennerdijk you will see a small stone shed – a so called ‘schotbalkenloods’. Just before this shed is a huge information board. There starts a short trail into the meadow along the river and you will see thousands of Snake’s Heads !!

    Hasselt is a city about 7 km north of Zwolle, in the Dutch province of Overijssel.
    Start you walk/bike ride from the old city hall (not to miss) towards mill De Zwaluw (signposted) and follow the dike along the Zwarte Water.

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Vorden - Wildenborch:thousands of winter aconites

    by vtveen Written Nov 8, 2011

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    The Wildenborch is a castle between the villages of Vorden and Lochem.
    The castle was first mentioned in the year of 1372, when it was owned by the infamous Count Sweder Rodebaert van Wisch, a knight who loved robbing and looting. The Wildenborch (“castle in a wild swamp region”) was surrounded by swamps and was an ideal hideout after raids in the surrounding areas.

    Another famous resident of castle Wildenborch was the Dutch poet Anthony Christiaan Staring (1767-1840). The family still provides opportunities for historical and literary research. The estate is accessible, but the house – still inhabited - is closed to the public (except during the annual Staring Nights).

    The lovely gardens of the Wildenborch are open for the public a couple of times a year. We visited during a grey and gloomy Sunday afternoon, especially to see the blooming winter aconites (and snow drops). We followed a signposted walk along thousands and thousand of these little yellow and white flowers. We never had seen these aconites and were really surprised by their beauty.
    At the same time there is a chance to get a glimpse of the back of the castle. At the end of the walk one can have a cup of tea or coffee in the (old) coach house of the Wildenborch.

    Despite the weather it was a very pleasant walk and we will come back another time when the weather is (much) better.

    Opening hours
    The gardens of the Wildenborch are open three times a year:
    - late February/begin March for the winter aconites and snow drops
    - mid May, for a garden with spring flowers; there is also a market with regional products
    - late August, for summer flowers.

    See for dates (and admission fee their website (in Dutch only).

    The Wildenborch, Wildenborchseweg 20, 7251 KG Vorden

    The castle is located between Vorden and Lochem; best accessible by car.

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Castles and Palaces

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    cycling the LF routes

    by ardnas67 Updated Oct 24, 2011

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    The Netherlands is perfect to have a cycle holiday. The country is flat, so no heavy work. And a perfect way to see the real country.
    There are many LF routes through the country with several theme's. On the website an explanation in Englisch.

    Related to:
    • Cycling
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Budget Travel

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    Havelte – dolmen and chamadron

    by vtveen Written Sep 4, 2011

    Havelte is a rural village in the Dutch province of Drenthe, located in the south western part nearby the town of Meppel. It is just a couple of kilometres from the highway A 32 to Leeuwarden. Havelte is an ideal base for exploring the area on foot or by bike.

    Havelte has two ‘hunebedden’ (dolmen), which are located 3 km’s north of the village. Along the ‘Van Helomaweg’ you will find a sign to the ‘Hunebedden’ and a car park. From there just walk 250 meters and on your left hand side you will see the first dolmen: ‘Hunebed D53’. That is the second largest dolmen of the Netherlands.
    Hundred meters further lies the second dolmen (Hunebed D54), which maybe is the most beautiful located dolmen of the Netherlands. It is situated at the foot of the soft rolling hills of the Havelterberg and especially during the month of August, when the heath is blooming it is a very pleasant and beautiful place to visit.
    For more info about the Dutch dolmen: http://www.hunebedden.nl/frntpage.htm

    When visiting Havelte on a Saturday afternoon (from Whit Saturday till the last Saturday in September) you shouldn’t miss the Clemenskerk. Around 4.00 pm there is a free open air concert on a so called ‘chamadron’; an almost unique organ like instrument. More info and annual program: http://www.chamadron.nl/english.php

    Havelte is located in the south western part of Drenthe.

    Related to:
    • Music
    • Archeology

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    Houthem - St. Gerlachus Church

    by vtveen Updated Apr 20, 2011

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    The St. Gerlachus Church is one of the most famous Dutch places of pilgrimage. Even in these days there are about 30.000 pilgrims a year visiting the church and especially the tomb of St. Gerlach who lived in Houthem in the 12th century. He died in 1164 or 1165.

    The new church (from 1727) is part of a huge compound, also including the famous hotel "Chateau of St. Gerlach". This is perhaps the most luxurious hotel in the Netherlands, surrounded by lovely gardens with lots of sculptures. Real 'cool' to walk around.

    What a difference with the quietness in the rather little chapel. This is really an unique spot with several beautiful paintings on the walls, the ceiling and the organ loft. Fifteen of them are showing the life of St. Gerlach. In the middle of the church is a simple tomb of the Saint.

    There is also a small museum 'De Schatkamer' next to the church in one of the old cloisters. It shows treasures of the local Parish and the life of St. Gerlach. If possible not open every day - I would recommend visiting this museum.

    The church is open for visitors every day between 10.00 am and 5.00 pm.
    Directions Houthem: www.viamichelin.com

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Religious Travel
    • Architecture

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    Holland Casino, Schiphol International Airport

    by hopang Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    We placed Holland Casino at Schiphol International Airport under "off the beaten path" tip as this casino is not really a "nightlife" tip nor "things to do" tip! The Casino opens to all international passengers with minimum age of 18 years old between 6.30 a.m. and 7.30 p.m. daily. You may try your luck at the casino in the airport while waiting for your flight out of the Netherlands. Schiphol International Airport is probably the only airport in the world with its own casino!

    The Holland Casino in the airport has more than 100 slot machines together with several table games such as American Roulette and Black Jack. Admission to the casino is free but minimum age of 18 years old is strictly applied as required by the law of the country. The casino is located between Gate E and Gate F.

    Related to:
    • Casino and Gambling

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    The first in-Airport Museum of the World.

    by csordila Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Although international airports in San Francisco and Mexico City also feature art museums, but the Rijksmuseum is the first museum in the world to have an annexe in an airport and Schiphol is the first airport to have a museum in its terminal focusing on 17th-century masters of the Dutch Golden Age, Jan Steen. Pieter de Hooch. Jacob van Ruisdael and Rembrandt.
    The ten works of portraits, landscapes, still lifes and paintings of life in 17th-century Netherlands have been selected from the Rijksmuseum collections. The museum was officially opened in December 2002 by His Royal Highness, Prince Willem-Alexander.
    In addition, frequently changing exhibitions of applied arts, such as ceramics and silverwork, from other museums are also on show.
    Do not expect queues at the entrance, because the exhibition has cca. 500 - 600 visitors each day, an average visit lasts 15 to 20 minutes.

    You will find also Museumshop here, where reproductions of 17th-century art from the Rijksmuseum may be bought together with Delft Blue vases, silk shawls, jewellery, posters, postcards, books etc.
    Internet terminals, near the shop, provide information on the Rijksmuseum's collections and the schedule of exhibitions.

    Opening hours: 7:00am - 8:00pm every day
    Admission free of charge, for departing, arriving and in-transit passengers.
    Direction: In the departure lounge after passport control (meaning you do not need to go through customs or come back through immigration to visit) on Holland Boulevard, the corridor connecting the E and F Pier.
    Passengers are allowed to carry their hand baggage into the museum.

    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    Lierop – impressive dome-church

    by vtveen Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    On a bike trip in the province of Noord-Brabant we were approaching the little village of Lierop and couldn’t miss the building of the local church with an impressive dome towering above the houses and shops. Coming closer it turned out to be the Church of the Holy Name Jesus (Heilige Naam Jezus Kerk).

    This neo-romanesque Catholic Church was designed by architect Carl Weber, who designed more than 20 churches in the Netherlands. This one was his smallest and last, which was built between 1890 and 1892. The church shows lots of Neo-gothic elements and is dominated by an impressive dome with a height of more than 50 metres.

    As we entered the church we really were completely surprised by the beauty of its interior; it has such a warm red colour - we were told every brick has been painted - a fantastic painted Stations of the Cross, a wonderful choir with stained glass windows and still its original pews. The whole church is decorated with images of saints.
    Sitting on one of the pews and looking around and into the impressive dome it is almost unbelievable people could built such an impressive and massive building more then hundred years ago.

    The church is open for visitors from early May till mid September on Wednesday and Saturday from 1.30 - 5.00 pm. During opening hours volunteers are present for explanation.

    Lierop is located about `15 km's east of Eindhoven, next to the A67 (Eindhoven - Venlo); you have to take exit 35.
    See for directions also: www.viamichelin.com

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture
    • Religious Travel

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    Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel: 6,76 below sea level !!

    by vtveen Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Lowest point of the Netherlands
    The Netherlands is well known as a ‘low country along the North Sea’. Main parts of the country do exist of polders and are protected by dikes. But to realise what it means to live in a country below the sea level one has to go to the lowest point of the Netherlands.

    This point is located nearby the town of ‘Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel’ in the province of Zuid Holland. Close to the motorway is a monument which indicates clearly how deep below Normal Amsterdam Level (NAP) this point is with: - 6,76 metres (although the monument says still it is – 6,74 metres) !!

    If you are by car drive over the dikes in this part of my country and see again what it means to live below the sea level. You will understand why ‘we’ are a little bit scared about the global warming and rising of the sea level.

    From Rotterdam:
    Turn off at the motorway A20 (between Rotterdam and Gouda) to Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel,
    straight on at the roundabout (Europalaan), first left (Kroonkruid), first left again (Parallelweg Zuid), pass the viaduct and follow the road for about 900 metres.
    From Gouda:
    Turn off 'Moordrecht' of the A20, left at the roundabout, pass the viaduct and turn right into the Parallelweg Zuid and follow this road about 1800 metres.

    The monument lies in front of Van Vliet Trucking Company.

    (On the 'Vaalserberg' in the province of Limburg you will find the highest point of the Netherlands)

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    by tompt Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Puzzled about the mummies?

    Well we do have a pyramid too !!

    The Pyramide of Austerlitz is erected at 12 october 1804 by the french general Auguste F.L.V. de Marmont to commemorate the stay of a 18.000 man army here. Marmont assembled all the french soldiers in the low countries at the heathland between Zeist and Woudenberg to prepare for an english invasion. To keep the men busy he decided to let them built a monument. It was a pyramid of dirt with grass and an obelisk on top. The pyramid was based on his visit to the Gizeh pyramid in Egypt. The obelisk is historical a roman memorial for emperors.
    Marmont dedicated it to Napoleon who crowned himself emperor that year.
    In 1806 the pyramid was named Pyramide van Austerlitz, in honor of a battle won by the french at Austerlitz (Czech republic). From then on the village where the armybase was located was also called Austerlitz.

    The pyramid is located on one of the highest points of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug (49,5 meter above sealevel)

    The pyramid is restored from 2001 to be opened again at its 200 year anniversary.

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    Hunnebeds: Megalithic Tombs in Drenthe province

    by airkarat Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    More than 50 of these ancient burial sites run along a distinct swath through the province of Drenthe on the West side of Holland bordering Germany. A small number of hunebedden are found in Germany as well, and the terrain becomes more forested with large oak trees, the kind that Hansel and Gretel could easily have become lost in ;)
    Borger is the site the largest hunebed, as well as the National Hunebeden Information Center. This is a smaller hunebed at Noord Sleen. Get the map and driving directions from Borger and find out what Napoleon and the Nazis thought of these unique sites.

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    SAIL 2005

    by ATLC Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This huge event will take place 17-21 August 2005.
    If you like tall ships and all kinds of other sailing ships and yachts, then this event is a must see!

    The event in 2005 will be called The Seven Cities of Sail. This is the programme:

    Portsmouth, June 23 – 27 2005
    Waterford, July 7 – 10 2005
    Cherbourg July 15- 18 2005
    Zeebrugge, July 23 – 26 2005
    Frederikstad, August 3 – 6 2005
    Bremerhaven, August 10 – 14 2005
    Amsterdam, August 17 – 21 2005

    Related to:
    • Water Sports
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Family Travel

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    Hunebed in Drenthe (prehistorical grave)

    by ATLC Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This is a hunebed. Found in the province of Drenthe. People in prehistoric days used to bury their dead like this. Amazing how they made these burial places with the great sidestones, capstones and endstones.
    There are 54 of them in The Netherlands, all different in size but mostly in the provinces Drenthe and Groningen (up north!).

    For pictures of them all go see the website.
    The descriptions, I'm afraid, are in Dutch.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology
    • Eco-Tourism

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