One of the largest areas of natural beauty in the Netherlands is National Park Drents-Friese Wold. Over 6000 hectares of forest, heath land, shifting sands and river valley grasslands were designated to become a national park in the year 2000.
National Park Drents-Friese Wold is an ideal area for walking/hiking or a bike trip. From Dwingeloo it is not far away to one of the Information Centres; the one in Diever is less than 5 km’s. (The other (larger) Visitor centre is located in Terwisscha, nearby Appelscha in Friesland.)
For a bike trip it is quite easy to use the so called ‘knooppuntroutes’; this is a route along numbered intersections, which you can make by yourself (see: http://www.fietsersbond.nl/fietsersbond-routeplanner). To get a good impression of the national Park from Diever one could bike along the numbers 69 > 67 > 68 > 62 > 61 > 88 > 82 > 23 > 21 > 12 > 14 > 59 > 80 > 69, which is about 28 km’s.
After passing forests and heathlands you soon will reach the Aekingerzand - also called Kale Duinen (Bold Dunes). This area of shifting sands is more or less the heart of the park. We were surprised to see this kind of landscape, as it looked more like the Veluwe nearby our hometown Apeldoorn. The bike path is meandering through the soft rolling hills across the Aekingerzand. We passed a watchtower and reached the ‘Grenspoel’, a pool at the edge of the sand and heathlands; an idyllic spot for a break.
There is a huge fenced area, where sheep are walking around. Although walking, we only saw them resting along the bike path in the shadow of a tree. Perhaps it was too warm for other activities.
Along the green brook valley of the Vledder AA you will come back into the park and soon you will be back in Diever. We were absolutely impressed by the unexpected beauty of the Drents-Friese Wold.
It is possible to rent a bike in Diever: http://www.fietsverhuurdiever.nl (or even in Dwingeloo: http://www.reiberrijwielen.nl/)
Information Centre, Bosweg 2a, Diever
Just outside of the village; Diever itself is located 5 km’s west of Dwingeloo.
Staying rather close to Orvelte, we visited this small village in the middle of the beautiful rural landscape of the province of Drenthe on a rainy and rather wet December day. Of course we did know it was off season, but didn’t expect to find almost everything being closed for public/visitors.
Orvelte is a museum village, or as the inhabitants say a ‘living museum’, where people - only a couple of hundred - still work and live. To be honest it had its own charm walking around without any visitors on the cobble stoned streets between the old impressive thatched Saxon farmhouses with piles of peat, the (renovated) sheep fold at the village green and the closed shops and art galleries.
(For opening hours see: http://www.orvelte.net/links/)
We were a little bit disappointed that even the village café was closed, but happy to find a welcome in Restaurant Schapendrift. Enjoying a warm cup of coffee and an ‘apfelstrudel’ we were already making plans for another ‘summer visit’, to see more of the traditional crafts and skills in Orvelte.
Orvelte lies about 25 km’s east of Dwingeloo.
Summer season is from April till October. Access is free, you just have to pay for a car park.
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.
Assen is about 30 km’s north from Dwingeloo.
Address: Brink 1 (in the centre of the city).
When visiting Dwingeloo in Drenthe one SHOULD at least visit one of the many dolmen in the province. A couple of these impressive tombstones can be found in Havelte (just 15 km's southwest of Dwingeloo). Another one is located in nearby Diever.
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 situated less than 15 km's southwest of Dwingeloo.