A cold rainy day eighteen years ago

It was the summer of 2004 when I first set foot on Dutch soil. For my studies, I flew from Jakarta for a two-week language course just outside Zeist. Between the (very hard) work and the (not so hard) partying, we explored the country by coach. While I have great memories of the many excursions, I wasn’t inspired by the visit to the Hoge Veluwe. I vaguely remember a walk on a cold rainy day and a much too crowded Kröller-Müller Museum.

Now I’m going to see if I need to change my opinion. On arrival, the rustling of the trees and the birds chirping immediately make me feel as if I’m on holiday. Scared that a wolf might chase me during the bike ride (that, or maybe I’m just lazy), I’ve rented an e-bike. For old time’s sake, I first go towards the Kröller-Müller Museum.

Van Gogh in Kröller-Müller

The building is bigger than I remember, and I don’t seem to remember anything about the ninety+ paintings by my favourite artist Vincent Van Gogh. Also remarkable: near the museum among the various artworks, there are statues of unicorns, but then with men’s heads and devil’s horns. Not charming, just plain creepy.

Men with horns are creepy. Image credit: Feba Sukmana

Lots of activities

Going to the Hoge Veluwe on your own might not sound much fun, but there are always people to chat to. After visiting the museum, I cycled along with a young German couple. They were spending four days camping in the park before travelling on to the north of the Netherlands. There’s no time to be bored here, because besides cycling and walking, there are organised activities for young and old, from excursions and tours to scavenger hunts. A shame though: there’s not a single Geocache (the world’s most fun treasure hunt) in the park.

A sunny day at the National Park De Hoge Veluwe Image credit: Feba Sukmana

At the end of the afternoon, we say goodbye. I cycle past the woods and the sand dunes towards the exit. While I’m not particularly enamoured of the Dutch nature, it’s still lovely to enjoy the hot sun on your back and the wind on your arms as you cycle along. The Hoge Veluwe is much nicer than I remembered – and fortunately I didn’t meet any wolves.

How do you get there?

It’s quickest by car, but you can also reach the park by public transport. Take the train to a local station (Apeldoorn, Arnhem, Ede-Wageningen, Harderwijk or Barneveld Centrum) and take the bus from there.

Attractions & activities

Walking, cycling, animal spotting and visiting the museum. You need to book tours and excursions in advance.

Dangers & irritations

It’s a bit odd that you need to buy a map (with footpaths and cycle tracks) at the entrance for 2 euros. Why isn’t that included in the ticket or uploaded on their website?

Flora & fauna

The Hoge Veluwe is rich in flora and fauna. The park consists of different landscapes like moorlands, woods and sand dunes. And there’s no lack of wildlife: birds, insects, reptiles, deer. There are even foxes and wolves in the park.

Where can you get information?

Most of the information is available on the website of the Hoge Veluwe, except for the all-important map.

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