During our stay in Kootwijk we rented bicycles and made a tour in the area. The round we made is 15km long. we had a stop in the center of Kootwijk, a very thiny place. Restaurant de Brinkhof is an excellent place to have a lunch, coffee or beer.
The largest "zandverstuiving" in the Netherlands is the Kootwijker Zand. This phenomena means literally translated " sand spraying and this name it is given because the wind moving the sands continuously. The dunes can be shifted several meters per year and the grounds are therefor extremely instabile for natural growth. Besides the wild moving sands, the temperatures here can variate between some degrees under zero at night until 50 degrees on a sunny day on hights just above the ground ON ONE DAY. These extremes are not that favourite to most plants, though some still resist and survive this circumstances.
Visiting the Kootwijker Sand one has tio realise that here you can only go by foot. Motorised vehicles are prohibited (as for their noise disturbing the wildlife and the polution of fumes) and bikes just get stuck in the sand (or you must have a real good all-terrain-bike with a lot of gears). Walking is even quite heavy and long distances are not to be recommended on sunny days, without taking enough drinks with you.
Kootwijk with it's 282 inhabitants has bycicle-rental for twice as many people then it's inhabitants. In the village are few points where one can rent a bike , but also in the neighboring villages there are possibilities to do so and reach Kootwijk in this way. There are various bikingroutes, on beautifully planned bikinglanes, that guide you straight through the forests and roughgrounds surrounding Kootwijk. In the travellogue we take you on a tour and give you an example.
Radio Kootwijk is a town in the municipality of Apeldoorn, in the Dutch province of Gelderland, with less than 100 inhabitants. Initially it was called Radio Kootwijk, to distinguish it from the original village located a few kilometers away Kootwijk; Radio Kootwijk is the name of the former relay station around which the village was built. It is surrounded by a forest, sand dunes and heathland rich area of the Veluwe, east of the village and the Kootwijkerzand Kootwijk, which belongs to the municipality of Barneveld. Until August 1966 Radio Kootwijk belonged to one half in Barneveld and the other half in Apeldoorn.
Originally Kootwijk survived on these hard soils by being one of the sheep-keeping centres on the Veluwe. This is still to be recognised as for the large farmhouses with a special sheepbarn besides or behind it. Mainly because the rough grounds were (and are) useless for other then grazing of sheeps (cows need more grass and less variation, therefor just sheeps). Near the church a little statue remembers this past and cemebrates this present.
Kootwijk is for Dutch not that much "off the beaten past" as many know about the main attraction, being the largest "zandverstuiving" of our country. Masses of tourists that roam around during the holiday in own land, go to campings on the Veluwe (second most popular area - after the coastline) and thus have also been in Kootwijk on a daytrip.
For foreign tourists here are the surprises that The Netherlands also offers forests and these special natural places. Everybody stays in the West or on a daytrip visits the Kröller-Müller-museum in National Park "De Hoge Veluwe", though Kootwijk is only a few kilometres from this national park.
Though most people enjoy Kootwijk in summertime, forests and rough grounds are changing enormously through the seasons and have always something special to offer. In spring even on the "zandverstuiving" little flowers blossom and amaze the visitors that see them. The forest is most magnificent in autumn when leaves have splendid colours varieting from bright red to golden yellow. In wintertime the hills of the surroundings in Kootwijk are excellent for shorttrack-skiing and there are many places where the skis can be rented. If you have the chance, then also visit Kootwijk in some other season.
Fondest memory: Ilja, playing in the sand of the largest sandbox of The Netherlands.