White Bicycles, Tree Roots and Van Gogh


From our editor Antoinet van Kessel

Zandverstuiving op De Hoge Veluwe Foto: Het Kröller-Müller Museum
14-09-2008 The gates of the Hoge Veluwe National Park open slowly. The road leading to the park takes you through characteristic small villages full of picturesque restored farmhouses. The farms may no longer be in use, but the charm of the buildings remains. Packpackers with hiking trousers wait impatiently for the gates to swing open. For now the sky is grey, but a watery sun promises to break through and light the largest national park of the Netherlands later in the day.
Bart van der Leck (1876-1958), De kat
The Hoge Veluwe is a great combination of nature and culture and attracts people of all ages manage to find their way to the entrance in Hoenderloo. At the centre of the 5500 hectare park is restaurant De Koperen Kop, already surrounded by the park's famous white bicycles at 10 a.m. A crackling log fire is already warming the still-empty restaurant. Immediately opposite the restaurant's wooden facade is the Museonder museum which I visited twelve years ago on a school trip to celebrate the transition from junior to senior school. The interior appears unchanged, which in this case is a complement as it is not at all out of place. It is not a large museum, but contains plenty of information. Stuffed animals, audio and video nature facts, and a ceiling covered in dried tree roots from the famous tree that every visitor to the park remembers.

Famous Names

Jean Dubuffet Jardin d’émail Foto: Het Kröller-Müller Museum

Visitors are admitted one by one through the gates of the Kröller Müller Museum by an ingenious scanner. Filled with amazement, I walk through the museum's rooms. Hidden here on the Veluwe - surely not the most cultural spot in the Netherlands - is a weighty collection of art. In addition to modern sculptures which keep you guessing at their meaning, are a range of beautiful 19th and 20th-century paintings which keep me rooted to the spot: Jan Toorop, Isaac Israëls and a huge Renoir, and an entire room filled with Van Gogh who was collector Helene Kröller Müller's favourite. The collection is not limited to the indoor rooms with the sculpture garden forming an integral part of the museum. Scattered about the lawns are works by Rodin, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. The quirky Jardin D'Email by Jean Dubuffet provides a humourous note, and visitors can walk about on it. The various languages which I can hear being spoken all around me are evidence of the many foreign visitors which the park attracts. For just a moment longer I wander around the Rietveld Pavilion and try to decipher a nearby sculpture.

White Bicycles

Witte fietsen van De Hoge Veluwe

At the entrance to the park it takes a bit of effort to find a bicycle which is the right size for me. But I am enjoying every minute of it, as it brings back memories of that school trip so long ago. The nostalgic back-pedal brakes, wide tyres and the uniformity of this well-known symbol of the park. I decide to take the 10-kilometre route and before long am flying along the cycle paths, past woods, heath, ponds and sand dunes. En route I stop to take a photo of the Sint Hubertus huntiung lodge, designed by Berlage, and then follow the winding path once more. Before I know it, the end of the route is in sight and it is time for refreshments in the restaurant. This nature may have been cultivted, but that does not detract from the charm of a day on the Hoge Veluwe.

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Reacties van lezers en bezoekers:

joop - Sat 19-09-09 09:25:37
De Hoge Veluwe is iedere dag de moeite waard (met of zonder de musea).

Robberd - Tue 02-09-08 13:16:19
Vond ik nou ook

piploi - Mon 01-09-08 18:04:31
het was stom

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