Visit the national park Veluwe: best things to do

Tourists might not always have the Veluwe area on their itinerary when visiting the Netherlands, but they should. This part of the Netherlands is famous for its nature reserve, world-class museums and charming villages. Visiting the Veluwe National Park, its Van Gogh museum and exploring more of the area is a must and we’ll help you out planning your Veluwe trip. From royal palaces to modern art museums, we listed the best things to do in the Veluwe according to locals.

Veluwe | The Orange Backpack
Veluwe | The Orange Backpack

The best things to do at the Veluwe

#1 Royal Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn

Culture & architecture | Website| I love visiting palaces and castles. The splendour, the intrigues of the court and the way history speaks from these monuments, keeps attracting me. One of the most beautiful palaces in the Netherlands can be found on the Veluwe. The palace is already connected to the Dutch royal history since the seventeenth century and that is reflected in the palace. Visit the royal bedrooms and decorated rooms to see that with your own eyes, stroll through the beautiful palace park and view the antique cars and cars in the stable block.

#2 National Park De Hoge Veluwe

Nature | Website |A visit to the largest national park in the country is a must if you visit the Netherlands. The beautiful nature, nice biking paths and hiking trails can easily keep you busy for a whole weekend. The park has three entrances – Schaarsbergen in the south, Hoenderloo in the east and (the busiest) Otterloo in the west. Buy your tickets for the park online in advance to skip the queue at the park entrances.

The park is best explored by bike, so park your car at one of the entrances and grab a free white bike to drive around. Visit the visitor center with information about the flora and fauna of the park, book a tour at the Jachthuis St. Hubert – designed from the cutlery to the facade by the famous architect Berlage – or visit the famous Kröller-Müller.

#3 Arnhem

Shopping & culinary| Website | An afternoon of shopping? Eating out? Having a drink? Arnhem is one of the largest and most beautiful cities on the Veluwe. Tips for a drink and some food are wine bar Iveau and restaurant Stan & Co. Concept store / breakfast and lunch spot Bos & Heij is also worth a visit. Enjoy sniffing around vintage items and designs from new or lesser-known designers after having some coffee, breakfast or lunch. The cooking walhalla Pollmann is located not far away. The beautiful tableware makes you wanna bring everything home. Other recommendations? Humanoid (in an old church), Lost in Wonderland, Loft, Heavenly, Brew2Cup, Babo Café and FrouFrou’s.

Kroller-Muller | Veluwe | The Orange Backpack
Kroller-Muller | Veluwe | The Orange Backpack
Kroller-Muller | Veluwe | The Orange Backpack

#4 Kröller-Müller

Modern art| Website | One of the most beautiful museums in the Netherlands! It is named after Anton and Helene Kröller-Müller, the founders of the national park and the most remarkable couple of their time. More than a hundred years ago they founded the national park, where he liked to hunt and she wanted to house her modern art collection. Her museum wasn’t built until after the couple was forced by debt to give their collection to the Dutch state. On one condition: it had to be housed in a museum in the park.

This museum is now one of the most important in the country. With almost 90 paintings and more than 180 drawings by Vincent van Gogh, Kröller-Müller has the second largest collection of his work. The museum therefore gives a good impression of the work and life of the famous and troubled artist. Do not forget to visit the sculpture garden and the other exhibitions with modern art as well. Tip: buy a combination card
online for both the park and the museum.

#5 Nederlands Openluchtmuseum

Historic | Website | As if you stepping through Dutch history! Authentic windmills, historic villages and farms and an antique tram give you the feeling of going back in time. Buildings from different era’s have been reconstructed in the museum park or have even been moved here to show you the Netherlands through the centuries. Volunteers in traditional costumes tell you all about the history of the building where they play their part. We also love the shops where you can buy old Dutch sweets or locally brewed museum beer.

#6 Radio Kootwijk

Architecture | Website| In the middle of one of the largest sand drifts in Europe, the beautiful Radio Kootwijk is located. In the past, a broadcasting station was housed here, connecting the country with the Dutch East Indies and later other colonial areas as well. The impressive building has not been in use since the 1990s. Unfortunately it is usually not open for visits. Only a few days a year Staatsbosbeheer organizes activities in Radio Kootwijk that allow visitors to enter the monument.

But even without entering Radio Kootwijk, it is a wonderful place to visit. The monumental building contrasts sharply with the nature of the Veluwe. A beautiful sight! Peek through a window to take a look at the black and white tile floor of the 15 meter high hall where the radio installations used to be. Almost a temple or church, do not you think?

Radio Klootwijk | Veluwe | The Orange Backpack
Radio Klootwijk | Veluwe | The Orange Backpack
Radio Klootwijk | Veluwe | The Orange Backpack

#7 Zutphen

Shopping & culinary | Website | The small town of Zutphen is worth a visit during your trip to the Veluwe. The old city center has beautiful houses from the Middle Ages, charming streets and squares and nice shops and restaurants. We recommend BroodCafé, the Hibou, Living and Giving, Beautiful, Uffie’s, Su & Jill, At D’n Open Haard, Radijs, the Broederenkerk with its bookshop, Van Rossum’s coffee and vegan hotspot Safa.

#8 Museum MORE

Modern art | Website | There is a fairly new museum in the small town of Gorssel. The museum has the largest collection of the Dutch art movement Modern Realism. It was founded in 2015 to host the private collection of collectors Hans and Monique Melchers. The permanent collection shows works by well-known Dutch artists such as Charley Toorop, Carel Willink and Erwin Olaf, but there are also changing exhibitions.

#9 Castle Rosendael

Historic & architecture | Website | There are many castles at the Veluwe. We recommend visiting Castle Rosendael. During a guided tour you will learn all about the rich history of the castle and its wealthy residents. In the Second World War the castle was hit by a bomb, after which it fell into disrepair. The last baron handed the castle over to the state and after a thorough restoration it was opened to the public! Don’t forget to take a walk through the landscaped garden and find the Bedriegertjes (‘Tricksters’). This fountain floor is part of a shell gallery, a design by architect Daniel Marot from 1732. The mosaic floor contains subtle fountains that spray water at random moments, a unique piece of technology for that time!

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