If you’ve ever been to the Netherlands you know it isn’t the place to be if you’re looking for lush nature. The country is as flat as a pancake, forests are scarce and every green area is covered with neat paths and fences. Fortunately there are still some places that show how nature in the Netherlands used to look, with National Park De Hoge Veluwe as the biggest and most well-known green area in the country. Last weekend my boyfriend and I got in the car and booked an overnight stay at a cute hotel located on the border of the park to check out if it’s really as beautiful as everyone says it is.
We arrived early Saturday afternoon and decided to kick-off our weekend in the Deelerwoud. According to my research Deelerwoud is a stunning area which offers many different kinds of landscape. And yes, my research turned out to be true (love it when that happens).
It was really cold, freezing actually, and the ground was covered with a fragile layer of ice. The sun was hanging low and doing it’s best to warm the heathland with beams shining through the thin layer of fog hanging just above the ground. The area is really quiet and not as popular as the nearby National Park, which made us feel to be the only ones there.
Yet we weren’t! My boyfriend turned out to be a professional wildlife spotter, pointing out deer, a woodpecker and the ever fluffy Highland cows. I learned later that it’s forbidden to hunt in the Deelerwoud, which makes it easier to spot wildlife.
After a good breakfast at the hotel we started our second day early to visit the National Park De Hoge Veluwe. We decided to park the car at the visitors centre and explore the park by bike. We’re Dutch after all 😉 There are several bicycle sheds all over the area where you can pick up a bike for free; great service! The bikes were a bit clumsy at first (back-pedal brakes, aargh!) yet after a few kilometres through freezing heathland we were really happy to have them.
Fortunately it wasn’t as cold as Saturday and the cycling kept us warm as well. The route led us through the many different landscapes the National Park has to offer: moor-like grasslands, sand dunes, woodlands and heathland. The wetlands reminded me of the beautiful Exmoor and Dartmoor National Parks in England, I’m excited to cover such beautiful scenery so close to home. On our way back to the car we stumbled upon a falconer training his falcons and buzzards, a lovely sight to see these wonderful animals up close.
I love how this two day trip felt like a mini vacation! The Veluwe is a great getaway, and since it’s just ninety minute drive from our home I’m sure this wasn’t our last visit.