"Hiking in Holland" Netherlands by Pijlmans
Netherlands Travel Guide: 32,469 reviews and 86,668 photos
Besides all the "obvious" things to do in the Netherlands, there is also quite a lot of nature to explore.
Hikes through the Dutch dunes, pasture where you walk among cows, forest, you name it! Sometimes with a chance to see the native wildlife...
Here I will give some links to sites that can be used to find walking routes in the Netherlands.
Often, descriptions of walking routes are in Dutch. However, many routes throughout the Netherlands are well marked along the way and easy to follow without a description. Even walking these marked routes will undoubtedly take some planning and sometimes a bit of translation, but it is well worth it...
The ANWB (Dutch touring club) has many walks, ranging from 3-20 km, marked by hexagonal shields saying "ANWB" or colored paving stones: http://www.anwb.nl/vakantie/wandelen/routes/kaw.jsp. Information about long-distance walks is available here (in Dutch). You can also get information in one of the ANWB shops. Make sure you have a printed map of the walk, sometimes one or two signs are missing!
Walks around Amsterdam
Marked walks in the nature around Amsterdam: Diemerbosroute, Gaasperzoomroute, Middelpolderroute and Goudriaanroute. The Demmerikroute near Vinkeveen is about 20 km from Amsterdam. The Forest and Dike route is near Purmerend, 30 minutes by train from Amsterdam Central Station.
Additionally, there are marked hikes in the Amsterdam Forest.
Combine culture with hiking: 5500 year old (!!!) hunebeds (dolmens) consisting of enormous boulders are found in the province Drenthe. On my Borger page you can read more and find information about the Bijvoetpad (14 km) which takes you along several of these monuments. The Beek en Bos route (16.5 km) is through the forest near Borger.
A visit to the so-called "silvercity" Schoonhoven, located between the cities Utrecht and Rotterdam at the river Lek, can be combined with the marked ANWB walk the Cabauwse Jacobs route.
Likewise, the 12 km marked ANWB hike Engherkade route takes you to the small city Montfoort and the village Linschoten near Utrecht.
In the provinces Utrecht and Gelderland several historical routes marked with a colored wooden shoe are available. Information and maps can be found at http://www.klompenpaden.nl/. See Niebroekerpad and Kruishaarderpad for wooden-shoe hikes in Gelderland. Some of these historical routes can get pretty wet during rainy periods, as they are often over unpaved paths!
On my Marken page you find a simple hike on this remarkable "island".
The Dutch railway company NS has nearly 50 walks on its site. Starting point and finish are always a trainstation, so transportation is no problem. Go to www.ns.nl or http://www.eropuit.nl/wandelen. There are also some 2-day hikes.
A very valuable site for finding information about walks in Dutch nature is http://www.natuurmonumenten.nl/, follow the links "de natuur in" and "routes". They have several visitor´s centers and a lot of marked routes throughout the Netherlands.
The Dutch Dunes
The dunes, where the drinking-water for e.g. Amsterdam is coming from are called the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen, located south of Zandvoort and north of Noordwijk, www.waternet.nl. Several color-marked walks start at the 4 main entrances, where you have to buy a 1 euro entrance ticket from a machine. You can be asked for your ticket during your walk! If you click on "activiteiten" on the site, you will find info about guided tours, which are often free or just a few euros.
Entrances to the dunes:
- Visitor´s center "De Oranjekom" (+31 23 523 35 95, or check opening times at the website), 1e Leyweg 4, Vogelenzang, is close to entrance "De Oase". Bus 90 (Connexxion) to Den Haag from station Heemstede-Aerdenhout, stop "waterleiding/oase" at the Vogelenzangseweg.
- Vogelenzang/Panneland, Vogelenzangseduinweg 4, where you also can find a small restaurant where you can have a drink, snack or a pancake: http://www.t-panneland.nl/. Bus 90 (Connexxion) to Den Haag from station Heemstede-Aerdenhout, stop "Bekslaan".
- de Zilk. Bus 90 (Connexxion) to Den Haag from station Heemstede-Aerdenhout, stop "De Zilk".
- Zandvoortstelaan 130, Zandvoort. Two marked routes start here (3.6 km and 6.7 km).
More walks in the dunes can be found on the site of another watercompany, http://www.pwn.nl/. The site is in Dutch, so just go to the visitor´s center De Hoep or De Zandwaaier and walk from there.
The Dutch used to flood their land against enemy attacks. The fortresses that came with this technique are called the Dutch Waterline, you can read all about it in English here: http://www.hollandsewaterlinie.nl/ and here http://www.noord-holland.com/ (things to do). Walking routes around Amsterdam that visit the fortresses can be found under "wandelroutes" at http://www.noord-holland.com/stellingvanamsterdam/.
Other marked routes:
"Staatsbosbeheer", an organisation that takes care of the nature/forests has a variety of marked walks on its site, that unfortunately is not very easily accessible if you can not read Dutch. Best thing to do is to go to one of the visitors centers and walk from there: http://www.staatsbosbeheer.nl/
http://www.natuurwegwijzer.nl/ has both marked and unmarked walks in "Noord-Holland".
On the site http://www.wandelzoekpagina.nl/ a large amount of marked and unmarked walking routes can be found. This site collects information of other sites. There are also almost 500 GPS walks. The "Groene Halte" walks described on this site are walks from one bus-stop to another bus-stop. You can find information about long-distance hikes (LAW, streekpaden, themapaden etc) here as well.
A similar site that collects information from other sites is http://www.wandelpad.nl/, but it is a bit harder to find marked walks using this site.
Many unmarked routes in the Netherlands, often made by hikers themselves, are available as well. These routes are almost all in Dutch, so they are of no use to you if you can not read Dutch.
However, if you can read Dutch, these hikes are often more "off the beaten path" than the walks that are marked, and certainly very interesting!
Links to sites where you can find these routes:
http://www.wandelwebsite.nl/ (partly in English)
http://www.xoverzo.dds.nl/ (10 hikes of about 15 km each in and around Amsterdam South-East (Zuidoost))
Lost in translation ?
Some words you might need to understand and use these sites:
afstand = distance
beginpunt (beginstation) = start (starting station)
bezoekerscentrum = visitor´s center
dagwandeling = route for 1 day or less
eindpunt (eindstation) = finish (finishing station)
fietsen = cycling
gemarkeerd = marked
kaart = map
LAW = Lange Afstand Wandelpad = Long distance walking path (red-white marked)
lengte = lenght
meerdaagse tocht = hike of several days
rolstoelvriendelijk = wheelchair friendly
rondwandeling = circle tour with same start and finish point
routebeschrijving = route description
streekpad = regional hike, long distance (red-yellow marked)
(geen) voorkeur = (no) preference
wandelen = walking/hiking
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