Hoge Veluwe National Park: Netherlands au Naturel
The biggest little park in the Netherlands, Hoge Veluwe is one of those places that you probably haven’t heard of but certainly ought to visit. I’d wager that if you’re familiar with any part of the park, it would be the outstanding Kröller-Müller museum that lies therein. Perhaps the single most impressive part of the park, the interior is stacked with the amazing collection of Helene Kröller-Müller (who incidentally was one of the first people to recognize the value of Van Gogh’s works).
Well apart from the museums, however, is the expansive Hoge Veluwe National Park itself. When I think of the Netherlands I don’t tend to first think of images of open green spaces, so to my surprise (and delight!) this privately-owned National Park is largely natural space: forest and grassland and even a little arid area that calls to mind the velds that any Boer would be familiar with. And indeed there are even memories of such old-school Dutch history, notably a lonesome statue of Christiaan de Wet perched just off from one of the bike trails that circle through the park.
(Photo credit: Sabrina Iovino)
Biking in the Netherlands is one of the highlights of the country no matter which part you’re visiting, but this is especially true at Hoge Veluwe. With lots of open spaces and well built bike paths, you could cruise through here for hours without having to re-ride the same tracts. If you ever do get bored, a stop at the historic hunting lodge or to try and spot the wildlife that roams the park isn’t a bad way to spend time either. With around 1700 free-for-the-taking White Bikes around Hoge Veluwe, it should never be too hard to find another when you finish your break.
Headed to the Netherlands and want to get somewhere a touch less touristy than Amsterdam? Coming for museums and need more Van Gogh than Museumplein can provide? Or are you just aching for a bit of natural space as a reprieve from the citified atmosphere of the Benelux? Check out Hoge-Veluwe, and you may be well impressed.
From Amsterdam, a train to Apeldoorn (the nearest station) is about €15 each way. From there, public busses are available to get to the park. Alternatively, the national park is accessible by bike from Arnhem.
Hoge Veluwe is open throughout the year, from 9:00 – 18:00 in the low season and 8:00 at the busiest times. Admission to just the park is €8.70 per adult, or €17.40 including the Kroller-Muller museum. You can ride your own bicycle to the park or borrow one of the ubiquitous white bikes for free, but car parking costs extra. For more information, visit the official website.
The Hoge Veluwe National Park is fairly large (and the Kroller Muller Museum worth quite a bit of time on its own), so rather than making a daytip from Amsterdam you would do better to stay in the area. There are hostels in Arnhem and Apeldoorn, the two closest towns to the park itself. There are also a bunch of proper hotels in Arnhem, if you prefer. If you’re really not comfortable getting all the way out to Hoge-Veluwe and back on your own and have too much money, you can also check out the Amsterdam Daytrip to Hoge-Veluwe.