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