If you are planning a trip to Holland, you must visit the De Hoge Veluwe National Park. This is one of the largest continuous natural reserves in Holland and measures over 5,400 hectares. It is teeming with life with sightings of red deer, roe deer, wild hogs and mouflons being very common amongst the beautiful forests, sand drifts, meres and ponds and heathlands that make up this variable landscape.
This park can trace its beginnings to the couple – Anton and Helene Kröller-Müller when they started buying up land with the intent to launch a museum and to have a park so as to offer nature and art in one location. With this thought in mind, they started purchasing land bit by bit from 1909-1923 and brought in animals like deer, mouflons and wild boar to populate the land. This period also saw the start of construction of a building which was intended to be used as a museum.
However, in 1923 the family hit an economic crisis and was not able to continue the progression and expansion of their plans. The property was transferred to a foundation to form the De Hoge Veluwe National Park, and the art that was collected by Helene was donated to the Kingdom of the Netherlands to be showcased in the museum.
Things to do
If you are a firs time visitor or even a frequent visitor, there is much to do in the biggest national park of the Netherlands. With so much ground to cover, free bicycles have been thoughtfully provided so that visitors can freely roam around and experience the beauty of the park for themselves in an eco-friendly and healthy manner. There are over 1800 bicycles for visitors, so you know there will be no shortage for the Parks’ guests. If you have children, there are smaller cycles for them too!
If you thought that safaris were only for guided tours in Africa, think again. The De Hoge Veluwe National Park offers some of the best safaris to acquaint the visitor with the abundant natural life in the Park. You will be guided by a forester for a four hour long walk so that you can catch the best parts of the park in your visit. For the people who want to truly experience nature can opt for the safari after dark where you can camp under the stars. The safaris are well thought of, with each one varying depending upon the wildlife that comes out in the different seasons.
If you have time on your own, you could discover the wonders of the park for yourself by going wildlife spotting. Late afternoons and evenings are the best time of the day to spot wildlife, especially if you station yourself on one of the wildlife observation posts located all over the park.
The Kröller-Müller Museum
The wonderful combination of art and nature has culminated in the creation of the Kröller-Müller Museum which is nestled deep in the forest. Host to the largest Van Gogh collection in the world, the Kröller-Müller Museum also boasts of stunning sculpture gardens that are worth seeing. The Museum also is home to many paintings by Pablo Picasso, Odilon Redon and Piet Mondrian to name a few. There is another Museum at the visitor’s center that concentrates on the geology and biology of the Park to educate visitors on the treasures contained within the fenced boundaries of the Park. A small entrance fee is charged for the upkeep of the Park, but it is one worth it to get an overview of Dutch nature and wildlife at their habitat.