Achterhoek and Veluwe in Holland

Between forest, Hanseatic League and manor house in the other Holland

For most people, a vacation in Holland is associated with walks on the beach at the North Sea. But there is another Holland that is definitely worth a trip and makes you wonder why you haven’t been there before. We took a look around the large province of Gelderland and visited the Veluwe and Achterhoek regions here. We were thrilled by the variety of recreational opportunities. The other Holland is an ideal excursion destination when springtime lures you back outside the door!

Im Nationalpark Hoge Veluwe: unendliche Weiten und smarte Radwege in abwechslungsreicher Landschaft
In the Hoge Veluwe National Park: endless expanses and smart bike paths in a varied landscape / © Photo: Georg Berg

The Achterhoek region has no seashore and its name translates as Back Angle. Conveniently, this back corner of the Netherlands is closer than the sea for German visitors. It is just 130 kilometers from Düsseldorf to the small Hanseatic town of Doesburg. Just 20 kilometers further and you are in the Veluwe region. Whether shopping, biking or hiking, whether art, culture or history as well as restaurants with fresh regional cuisine there is to discover in the other Holland.

Mit dem Leihfahrrad durch den Nationalpark De Hoge Veluwe
With the rental bike through the national park De Hoge Veluwe / © Photo: Georg Berg
Die Hansestadt Zutphen in den Niederlanden
The Hanseatic city of Zutphen in the Netherlands / © Photo: Georg Berg

Off into nature! Off on your bike!

The Hoge Veluwe National Park is part of the cultural heritage of the Netherlands. The landscape is varied. On more than 5,000 hectares, forest, heath, moorland and shifting sand dunes alternate. Throughout the year, visitors can ride the white bicycles located at all three park entrances through the expansive grounds. The bikes are included in park admission. There are three restaurants in the Hoge Veeluwe, so you can plan nice stops while exploring the national park.

There are a total of nine Hanseatic towns in the Other Holland. In the Achterhoek region, you can visit towns that were significant in the Middle Ages along the Hanseatic Cycle Routes. For example, there is a circular route from Zutphen to Deventer. 40 kilometers of relaxed cycling along the Ijssel. The river was once the most important trade route for a Hanseatic city like Zutphen.

K-piece (1972) by Mark Di Suvero
K-piece (1972) by Mark Di Suvero / © Photo: Georg Berg
Schloss Ruurlo mit seiner gläsernen Brücke in der Provinz Gelderland im Osten Hollands
Ruurlo Castle with its glass bridge in the province of Gelderland in eastern Holland / © Photo: Georg Berg

World-class museum and art in a moated castle

The Hoge Veluwe National Park not only has a lot of nature to offer, but also world-class art. The internationally renowned Kröller-Müller Museum stands in the middle of the Hoge Veluwe. It is home to the second largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh as well as one of the largest sculpture parks in Europe. In addition to this heavyweight of art palaces, there are numerous smaller museum concepts.

Weltberühmte Werke von van Gogh
World-famous works by van Gogh / © Photo: Georg Berg
Schloss Ruurlo beherbergt die größte Sammlung von neorealistischen Werken des holländischen Künstlers Carel Willink (1900-1983). Neo-Realismus von Carel Willink
Ruurlo Castle houses the largest collection of neo-realist works by Dutch artist Carel Willink (1900-1983). Neo-realism by Carel Willink / © Photo: Georg Berg

Shrill and beautiful is the MORE Museum at Ruurlo Castle. Here, neo-realism with the works of Dutch painter Carel Willink meets the charm of one of the most beautiful castles in the Netherlands. For those more interested in life behind castle walls, Doorwerth Castle is the place to be. The fully restored castle depicts castle life in the 17th century and shows how sustenance was provided by the castle’s own garden, kitchen, surrounding forest and hunters. In the Hanseatic town of Doesburg there is another remarkable museum. In a small townhouse, the Art Nouveau glass artist René Lalique is on display right up to the roof.

Stadhuis der Hansestadt Doesburg
Stadhuis of the Hanseatic town of Doesburg / © Photo: Georg Berg
Stadtmuseum Zutphen
City Museum of Zutphen / © Photo: Georg Berg

Hanseatic towns and traditional shops

Do you know Zutphen? If not, this city belongs on your travel list. Zutphen became one of the most important Hanseatic cities in the Middle Ages. The magnificent buildings, city walls, towers and courtyards are still preserved today and bear witness to the former wealth and supremacy of the city on the rivers Ijssel and Berkel. Today, Amsterdam and the popular seaside resorts of the province of Zeeland have overtaken the Hanseatic cities in the inland Netherlands. Yet Zutphen, Deventer or Doesburg are perfect destinations for a weekend trip to the unknown Holland. The history of the Hanseatic League is vividly presented in the Zytphen City Museum. From the first raids of the Vikings to the granting of the city rights by the bishop of Utrecht and the heyday as one of the most important Hanseatic cities of the 15th century.

Fachgeschäft für Tee und Kaffee "De Pelikaan"
Specialty store for tea and coffee “De Pelikaan” / © Photo: Georg Berg
Fachgeschäft für holländischen Käse
Specialty store for Dutch cheese / © Photo: Georg Berg

In the Hanseatic towns of the province of Gelderland, traditional stores have survived to this day. The historic alleys with many cafés and restaurants offer a shopping experience that has long been lost in many regions. Here, the traditional tea store has been in the same building for 200 years. The cheese store has round yellow cheese wheels stacked to the ceiling. The confectionery with a visible chocolate factory or charming flower stores. Visitors can stroll through the winding alleys and historic backyards with a tour plan. All information is available at the inspiration center, the tourist office VVV at the wooden market of Zytphen.

Het Arsenaal 1309
Het Arsenaal 1309 / © Photo: Georg Berg
Ziegenkäse mit Basilikumöl
Goat cheese with basil oil / © Photo: Georg Berg

This tastes good! Dutch cuisine

Doesburg is one of the best preserved towns in Holland. Quite remarkable is the conversion of an old monastery from 1309. After long years of vacancy, many small businesses are now located here, from dance schools to occupational therapy. On the first floor there is the restaurant Het Arsenaal 1309 with young Dutch cuisine in the old walls. Even the lunch menu with ingredients exclusively from Holland is highly recommended.

Wildente aus der Hoge Velouwe mit Püree aus frischem Mais / © Foto: Georg Berg
Wild duck from the Hoge Velouwe with mashed fresh corn / © Photo: Georg Berg
Wild-Lunch im Nationalpark Hoge Veluwe
Game lunch in the Hoge Veluwe National Park / © Photo: Georg Berg

Culinary seconds: The game season in the Achterhoek

There is a lot of forest and a lot of game in the Achterhoek. Every year from the end of October to the end of February, many restaurants in the region offer a game menu and even entire game arrangements with a multi-course meal and overnight stay. The standard in the restaurants of the Achterhoek region is impressive. The game meat, that much is certain, comes directly from the surrounding forests.

Travel tips

The Dutch Hanseatic cities

Eating game in the Achterhoek

The research trip was supported by the Tourism Board of the Netherlands

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