Kootwijkerzand - shifting-sand
This part of the Veluwe has an unique scenery with the biggest shifting-sand area of Europe. Surrounded by forests and just close to the very small village of Kootwijk, it is one of the most remote parts of the Netherlands. Therefore it is such a pity that tourist facilities, like camping sites and holiday parks are coming closer and closer to this unique spot.
The only way to explore “Kootwijkerzand” is to walk. Personally we prefer to stroll around without using paths. It is such an amazing landscape, sometimes the sand is almost white, other parts are covered by moss or small pines. And always the sand is drifting in the wind and the landscape is constantly changing. Sometimes it seems to be a little Sahara, specially when temperatures in the sun reach 50 degrees Celsius !!
If you don’t like to walk, just find a nice spot on one of the hills (they are called a ‘fort’) and just sit down and look around, see the living skies and enjoy this beautiful scenery.
Kootwijk is within easy reach of the highway between Amersfoort and Apeldoorn. In the village turn left on the (only) junction; follow “Kerkendelweg” and turn right into “Houtzagersweg”. At the end of the sealed road is a car park. Go through a small gate and walk for about 500 metres straight on. Suddenly you will reach this huge sandbox. Stroll around, but just take care you don’t get lost and can not find your way out !!
(on the road between Kootwijk and Harskamp is a car park with a short sign posted track, but we don’t like that part too much, because it is ‘overcrowded’).
Directions: www.viamichelin.comRelated to:
- National/State Park
- Hiking and Walking
Ooijpolder – fascinating Dutch landscape
Although most of the polders are in the western part of the country, the Ooijpolder (and some other polders) are stretching from Nijmegen till the German town of Emmerich. On one side surrounded by the rivers Waal and Rhine and on the ‘land’ side by the hills of ‘Beek’ and ‘Ubbergen’.
We started our biketour at the so called Hollandsch-Duitsch Gemaal. This pumping-station was built in 1933 and is still responsible for draining away the water from the German polders into the river Waal.
Our route follows the signs (ANWB) of the ‘Ooij route’ and it was very easy to find our way.
Main parts of the trip we were biking on the dikes, which meant we had great views of the beautiful scenery of meadows, agricultural land, orchards and wetlands with the typical willows. But most impressive are the numerous ponds, pools, small canals and the river Rhine and Waal with everywhere a lot of water birds.
In the small village of Kekerdom we followed the signs to the ‘Millinger Theetuin’ and entered the nature park of the Millingerwaard with swamps, wetlands and river dunes. The track is unsealed and sometimes rather bad. You might encounter Polish Konik horses and Scottish Galloway cows.
Follow the bike track along the river Waal and you will see the ‘Ooij route’ signs again, which we followed back to our car.
We passed some remnants of the IJssel Linie (old line of defence dating back from the Cold War), several dike houses and a couple of quaint old villages. Before heading to Ooij make a detour to the ‘old’ church and the remnants of Castle Ooij (dating back to 1184). Persingen, almost at the end of the route, is supposed to be the smallest village of the Netherlands with a church (15th century), a former guesthouse ‘de Bonte Os’ and a couple of houses.
This bike tour is 48 km’s long and with a couple of stops an ideal day trip through a really fascinating Dutch landscape.Related to:
This is one of the Churches in Gelderland.
This Church is named St - Walburgis
and it has two towers in front which is pretty rare for a Church in the Netherlands.
After the reformation in 1578 the Church was used as an Arsenal and a Prison.
In 1808 the church returned in Catholic hands ,a bad restoration job was done between 1851-1854,and the northern Tower collapsed ,in 1855 the Towers were rebuild and given new spires.In September 1944 during the battle of Arnhem the southern Tower was damaged ,but in 1947 till 1951 the Towers were restored and the church was repaired to the state it was in the 14 th century ,but the choir stayed in origional shape.
The Music Concerthall in Arnhem Gelderland.
The '' Musis Sacrum '' is the music centre in the City of Arnhem and has been for almost a 150 years.The " Gelders Concert Orchestra ''has been performing here over a hundred years. The "' Musis Sacrum ''
The big Concerthal has 950 chairs in the main Hall and 500 chairs in several smaller halls where different events take place.
200 meter from this building is an other building called '' het Schouwburg '' which is some what smaller ,but this building also 100 years in existence is more like a Theather.
Together these two buildings have become an great centre for Festivals etc.
They are the heart of the music and culture of the City Arnhem. In the ''Musis Sacrum '' building is also a cafe -restaurant called
'' de derde van Mahler ''.
The '' Grote Kerk '' or St .Eusebius Church .
This is a must see church to visit if you are in Arnhem , the inside of this church is incredible beautiful,and there is an elevator that brings you to an area where you can have a view far away and you can see as far as the City Nijmegen ,the river Rhine, and I believe on a clear day as far as Germany .
The '' Maarten van Rossem '' or '' Devil's House '
This is a 16 th Century of a Dutch ''Gelders Veldheer ''also called the ''Devil's House '' because of the stone devillish looking men in the renaissance gavel of this house .This house was used as part of the City Hall since 1830.
This is an example of old and new Architecture.
In this picture you see a good example how old and new goes hand in hand ,on the left there is part of the old City Hall building and in the center the new and modern City Hall building ,and on the right
there is the St -Walburgis Church.
An interesting thing to see how old and new can go together.
Another beautiful old building in Arnhem.
This is a restored 15 Century old house where the '' Mayor of Arnhem '' used to live ,and the name of the Mayor was '' Bernt van de Presickhaeve ''(what a name eh).
The house has been restored several times and has been used as a coffee house before.
Groenlo, walking in a fortified city
The Netherlands has quite a lot of fortified cities. Some of them are well known (mostly located in the western part of the country), but there is one which is more or less unknown as such.
That is the city of Groenlo in the eastern part of the Netherlands (close to Germany).
Groenlo – which has been known through the centuries as Groonloo, Gronlo and Grol – was founded around the year 610 and was awarded city rights in 1277. The city is mainly famous for its illustrious history. It played a prominent role in the Eighty Year War between the Netherlands and Spain. In 1627 the battle for Grol, fought between the troops of Prince Frederik Henrik and the Spanish, put the town at the centre of the action.
The best way to explore the history of this fortified city is to walk around or even better by following a signposted walk through the town. Best thing is to get the brochure ‘Vestingstad Wandeling’ at the local VVV-office (Mattelierstraat). During my last visit - July 2011 – they didn’t have information in English, but the brochure has a map. The VVV-building houses also the City Museum, a good start for your visit.
The walk brings you to the ramparts (with replica cannons), bulwarks and the city moat, but also to all other interesting historical sights in Groenlo;
- Old Calixtus Church: the oldest building in town
- City farm (dating back from the 17th century)
- Calixtus Church, with an interesting interior
- City Hall from the 16th century
- Market Square
- Brouwery De Klok, ‘birthplace’ of the famous Dutch Grolsch Beer.
For opening hours of the Tourist Information (VVV) office in Groenlo, see:
- Hiking and Walking
- Historical Travel
Klein Amsterdam - the other Amsterdam
Klein Amsterdam means 'Little Amsterdam'.
Almost every tourist to the Netherlands will visit Amsterdam, but I think nobody ever has been to 'Klein Amsterdam'. And even my fellow countrymen hardly know where to find 'KA'. So it is rather challenging to visit both Amsterdam and Klein Amsterdam while visting the Netherlands and Gelderland.
Although many cities in the Netherlands call themself 'Little Amsterdam' there is just one small hamlet, which has the official name of 'Klein Amstrerdam' and it has also some real signs with its name.
In all respects it is a completely different world between 'Klein Amsterdam' and her big sister. In a very rural setting between the villages of Klarenbeek, Voorst and Hall do live 30 families with a total of just 100 people and there is just one shop. The settlement is concentrated in a triangle of roads: Heuvelderweg, Gravenstraat and Diederikweg.
Nobody could tell me why this settlement is called 'Klein Amsterdam'. Most likely some people from Amsterdam have lived here in the past, who have disappeared later.
Just outside the settlement - follow the 'Diederikweg' and 'Weg over het Hondsveld' for a couple of hundred metres - is a 'farm' De Hommel, where coffee and (high)tea is served. Perfect place to relax in a beautiful garden. Opening hours: March till October - 10.00 till 19.00 hours. (www.koffiehommel.nl)
Staverden - just strolling around the castle
Castle Staverden isn’t a real castle, but more a manor. In popular speech it is still called ‘castle’ because of its history of more than 800 years and the fact that four buildings have been built on this place. The first one was a hunting lodge used by the counts and dukes of Gelre, dating back to 1298.
The same year Staverden became city rights - granted by German King Rudolf to count Reinout of Gelderland - and nowadays most probably is the smallest city on earth with its 40 inhabitants living in the manor and farmhouses of the estate. The present ‘castle’ was built in 1905.
Although living rather close to this castle we never visited it till one of these lovely sunny autumn days end of October 2009. From the car park we walked in the restored 17th century garden of the castle, surrounded by a moat and a stream called ‘Staverdense Beek’. We passed the peacock statue, an ice cellar and an old grave having a tombstone with inscription ‘Leonora 1353’, before reaching the buildings existing of the former stables and the renovated house, which is not open for public.
In another corner of the garden stand an old water mill and a barn. The water mill itself is not open for visitors, but we could come very close and had a view of the water wheel. The barn has been altered into a visitor center with all kinds of information of Castle Staverden and the estate and a small shop selling gifts and local authentic products.
Castle and garden are surrounded by streams, a pond and old striking trees (during our ‘fall visit’ with colourful golden leaves), being part of an estate which is situated in the middle of one of the most beautiful forests of the Netherlands. We finished our stroll around Castle Staverden on the terrace of the former Orangery (since April 2009 a café/restaurant) enjoying our coffee and the beautiful entourage.
(It is also possible to make some longer walks along marked trails - will do it during a next visit. If following the red or yellow posts you will see the white peacocks. These animals have always been kept on Castle Staverden, the reason why it is also called ‘Peacock Castle’. Dukes of Gelre used to wear the feathers on their helmets.)Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- National/State Park
- Castles and Palaces
Zutphen - Librije: a hidden gem
The ‘Librije’ is a unique 16th century public library in Zutphen and a REAL hidden gem:
- it is hardly known by others than citizens of Zutphen
- it is more or less hidden as ‘a part’ of the St. Walburga’s Church and even in the church the entrance is through a simple inconspicuous door.
The public library was founded as a stronghold against the popularity of the Reformation around 1550. Two church-elders planned this reading room, convinced that people by reading the right books, they would be cured of their errors and become true believers of the Roman Catholic faith. The building of the ’Librije’ started in the year of 1561 and took three years to complete.
The ‘Librije’ is one of the most important cultural monuments in the Netherlands and abroad, because there are only two other similar libraries: one in Italy (Cesena) and in Britain (Hereford).
The interior of the reading room with its desks and beautiful decorated pillars didn’t change since the old days. Also the books are original ones and dating back to the 15th and 16th century. Many of the 300 books in the room are chained to the ‘lecterns’ and some newer ones (17th century) are in a bookcase.
The ‘Librije’ is open for visitors during ‘summer season’ (couldn’t find exact information, but was told so during my visit) and special events. Entrance fee is € 4,00 (November 2014) for adults; which means a guided tour in the library and church. In the church is a small exhibition (text only in Dutch) about the library and art of printing and a booth selling postcards and books. There are leaflets in different languages.
For opening hours better check their website > “Openingstijden”
It is not allowed to take pictures inside the ‘Librije’, so I can not show you too much.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Superlative modern art museum near the village of Otterlo, Gelderland Province.
It houses a stellar Vincent Van Gogh collection, with 93 paintings and 183 drawings, plus superb works by Seurat, Monet, Gauguin, Picasso, Gris, Courbet, Corot, Millet, Mondrian.
To top it off, it is located in the centre of the National Park De Hoge Veluwe, the original royal hunting grounds.
More pictures here: Culture-Vulture And Gourmet Drives On 3 ContinentsRelated to:
- National/State Park
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
Vaassen – Daams’ Mill
Daams’ mill (Daams Molen) is dating back to the year of 1870 for Derk Poll Jonker. In 1883 he passed the mill on to his brother-in-law Herman Daams. From the beginning it was a flour mill, which changed hands several times. Till 1934 the mill was used, but the same year Daams’Mill fell out of use and became a feed mill, which lasted till 1964. Due to neglect, its condition deteriorated to the point where the municipality considered demolishing the mill.
Restoration of Daams’Mill started in 1989 and one year later on the National Mill Day it was ready to grind again. The mill is a so called octagonal ‘stellingmolen’ (smock mill). The ‘stelling’ is indicating the gallery or platform constructed around the tower, so the miller can adjust the sails into the wind.
In 2012 the mill was raised with almost 5 metres. This raising was necessary to ensure enough wind for the mill, due to the so called ‘wind rights’. The ‘old’ mill was transported to the other side of the road. After the new floor was built the mill removed again to its original spot.
This new ground floor houses a tea- and coffee room and a tourist information point. And nowadays Daams’ Mill can be considered the ‘turning heart’ of Vaassen. Daams’Mill can be visited during the opening hours of ‘Koffie- en Theehuys De Korenmolen’ or/and when a miller is on the spot for a complete guided tour. (see www. koffie-entheehuysdekorenmolen.nl)Related to:
Acquoy is a tiny village with a tiny church. There is little that reminds of the time that it was a barony. That's long ago, and baron of Acquoy, or better: baroness, is nothing more than one of the many titles of the queen.
The village is nice, with cute old houses standing on a dyke and orchards wherever you look. In Spring this must be a lovely place. The most important sight however is the tower of the church. If you want to see a leaning tower and don't want to go to Pisa, here is one. It was built so badly that it was never finished. The original church was destroyed in a storm in 1674.
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