Published: Friday, 22 December 2017 08:12
Besides visiting Roverway 2018, The Netherlands has much more to offer. We have a sea, mills, several museums, lovely cities and even caves that you can visit. We give you here 5 tips on places to visit.
For centuries people in the Netherlands have lived among the water and extracted water to provide land for living and farming. Think of the Zuider Sea having been turned into the IJsselmeer or the Delta Project in the south west of the country. Kinderdijk is one of the most iconic parts of the Netherlands when it comes to water management and polder landscape. After serious flooding in 1421 it was in this area that serious water management started with a type of windmill you can find all around the country. Nevertheless the image that Kinderdijk gives you, with its polder landscape and 19 windmills, is something you can’t find anywhere else. Visiting Kinderdijk means you can see the development of water management, because apart from several types of windmills (with different dates of origin) you can also find modern equipment like pump stations, storage tanks and the Netherlands’ first power plant. What’s interesting is that the windmills aren’t spread out over long stretched dykes, but with a little effort you can see them all from one spot.
2. Kröller Möller museum
In the middle of the country, in and around Veluwe National Park, you can find the remnants of one of the last ice-ages. It’s a hilly sight of about 1000 km² covered with Douglas trees, birches and oaks. Apart from vegetation only found here because of the ice-age and its permanent frosted earth’s crust it has a range of animals like an abundant amount of deer, boars and mouflons. The Park is peppered with cycling paths and hiking trails to explore the phenomena of ancient forests in an area characterized by grassland and pollard willows . In the middle you can find the Kröller-Möller museum, which was originally the private collection of the couple Anton Kröller and Helene Möller. The collection of more than 11.000 pieces contains work of Vincent van Gogh, Rodin, Monet, Picasso and Mondrian. The garden surrounding the museum serves as a background for the 25 acre outside gallery, which is one of the biggest in Europe. Blending art and architecture with nature was Anton’s and Helene’s intention when they moved to area in 1913. It is shown in and around the original farmhouse, their house designed by Berlage and of course the museum itself. To be able to see most of the park at once you can use one of the available bikes near the museum.
3. Hanseatic cities and canals
Not only Amsterdam and Utrecht have canals. The country is covered with them. In 1358 the Hanseatic League was founded, which was a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and their market towns. It didn’t cover Dutch towns alone, but it served trade over the German border too. It made these towns develop quickly and all along the IJssel you can find the typical canal structure developed during that area. Dark brick quays and drawbridges to improve easy access for delivering goods mark the town centres. The cities’ colourful armorial bearings are depicted on windowpanes or decorate the top of step-gables. From small towns like Bolsward in Friesland to bigger cities like Zwolle and Deventer, but also down south in Roermond the characteristic architecture of that time is visible everywhere. Most Hanseatic cities have rich histories and can be linked to historical figures who are known for their knowledge and development, like Copernicus’s solar system, which can still be seen in Franeker.
4. Marl and limestone caves in Limburg
One time the Netherlands simply didn’t exist. There was only sea and the shore wasn’t far away from Limburg, in the south-east of the country. The marl and limestone that started to build up because of the millions of layers of sea animals became land as the water withdrew. It is one of the hilly areas and the most sunny part in the Netherlands. It’s well-known with cyclists and hikers. But the subterraneous world is just as interesting. About 2000 years ago people started to delve the marl for building and started using the caves for shelter during bad times. They dug deep and they dug far and now a total of 250 corridors cover about 240 kilometres of total darkness. History and biologic phenomena can be found in far corners, but the caves are also used for survival and underground mountain bike trips, workshops back on track and history, laser tag and paintball. Visiting the caves with a guide after a boat trip from nearby Maastricht is also a possibility.
5. Wadden Sea
Officially it is said it’s the largest part of intertidal sand and cradles transitional zones between land, sea and freshwater environment. That basically means the whole area consists of mud which is flooded twice a day. It inhabits various seals, fish, mammals and a variety of vegetation that needs both salt and freshwater. Over 10 million birds winter in this extraordinary environment. But apart from a charming scenery, some exciting sports are practiced here too. Wad walking means getting from the mainland to one of the islands before the surroundings are flooded again. The mud with its firmer and softer spots, its subterranean streams and sides caving make this race against the clock quite a challenge. The Wadden Sea, with its shallow and deeper parts, is also an area suitable for advanced sailing. Some of the islands to the east are traffic free and some are even inhabited, but all islands have large sandy beaches on which you can relax after an intense day of wind and salt water.