2 hour (9.0 km)

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  • Shops, dolmens, burial mounds and woodland: you’ll see it all. When you think of Emmen, the first thing that springs to mind is WILDLANDS Adventure Zoo. But did you know that there are ten dolmens in Emmen, and that you’ll come across one of the largest specimens in all of Drenthe on your walk?

    Navigate the past and the present du…

    Shops, dolmens, burial mounds and woodland: you’ll see it all. When you think of Emmen, the first thing that springs to mind is WILDLANDS Adventure Zoo. But did you know that there are ten dolmens in Emmen, and that you’ll come across one of the largest specimens in all of Drenthe on your walk?

    Navigate the past and the present during this 12-kilometre walk in Emmen and the surrounding area. If you’re looking to have a delicious snack or refreshing drink, you’ll find plenty of opportunities in the city of Emmen.

    The outskirts of Emmen are home to an archaeological treasure trove. One minute you’ll be enjoying the local birds, and the next you’ll find yourself eye to eye with two dolmens on a heath in the middle of the forest. They may not be big, but they’re certainly impressive. Just reach out and touch one of the stones to feel 5000 years of history.

    After passing through the Valtherbos, you’ll enter the Emmerdennen woodland, which is also where you’ll find one of Drenthe’s largest dolmens. Tradition has it that one of the capstones was dented when King Louis Napoleon climbed a dolmen with his horse when he visited Drenthe in 1809!

    And what about WILDLANDS Adventure Zoo? A visit to Emmen just isn’t complete without a trip to this special park and its remarkable animals. Discover the jungle, the savannah and even the Arctic during a full day of fun at WILDLANDS. To go for a walk in Emmerdennen and visit WILDLANDS Adventure Zoo, stay the night in Emmen.

    Sights on this route

    Starting point: Stationsplein 14
    7811 GC Emmen



    The stone monument D41 is situated on a moorland directly on the road from Emmen to Odoorn. It is a rather small but complete dolmen with stones that are rather dark in colour.

    Dolmen D41

    This is one of the two places in Drenthe where you can still find three dolmens together. The dolmens D39 and D40 are quite small and are still partly in the hill that originally lay over them. Dolmen D38 is the largest of the three.

    Dolmen D38, D39 and D40





    Just outside of Emmen, on a hill, lies the large dolmen D45 in the forest. The dolmen is 18 meters long and still has a lot of wreaths, which is quite special. The stone tomb lies on top of a large hill.

    Dolmen D45
    End point: Stationsplein 14
    7811 GC Emmen


    Starting point: Stationsplein 14
    7811 GC Emmen
    • Emmen, located on the southern tip of the Hondsrug, about 30 meters above sea level, was first mentioned in 1139. The many dolmens and burial mounds found in and around Emmen show that the area was already inhabited in ancient times. In 1228, Emmen was burnt down by the army of the bishop of Utrecht, Willebrandt van Oldenburg (1227-1233), to avenge the defeat of his predecessor Otto II of Lippe in the battle of Ane (in Overijssel), the previous year. Otto II was defeated by the Knights of the City of Coevorden and their army of Drenthen. Emmen started growing during the rise of the peat industry, before developing into the industrial centre of Southeast Drenthe after the Second World War.
    • You’ll pass the Nabershof, a Saxon farm founded in 1681, making it the only Saxon farm in Emmen dating back to this period. Behind the Nabershof museum farm lies a long barrow. Dolmen D43, with D referring to Drenthe, is the only long barrow in the Netherlands. In fact, the long barrow consists of two dolmens, each with a separate entrance, girdled by a wreath of stones.
    • After marvelling at the long barrow, you’ll continue your hike to the next megalith. This small dolmen, D41, was still fully preserved when it was found in its burial mound in 1809. It was investigated by renowned Dutch archaeologist Van Giffen in 1960, after which it was restored.
    • You’ll now find yourself gradually leaving the buildings of Emmen behind, as you enter the Valtherbos, which is one of Drenthe’s oldest forests, together with the Emmerdennen. These diverse forests are situated on high-relief sand drifts. In the Valtherbos, you’ll even find remnants of Drenthe’s immense heathlands. One of these heaths is home to three dolmens: D38, D39 and D40. A fourth dolmen was once located near D39. On the eastern side, towards the cycle path, medieval cart tracks can still be seen in the heath, marking the old ‘highway’ that connected the cities of Coevorden and Groningen. Opposite the cycle path, you can see several round hillocks in the forest, marking the first burial mounds you’ll encounter on the trail.
    • Leaving the Valtherbos, you’ll continue your hike to Emmerdennen, a hilly landscape home to a varied selection of trees. Two-thirds of the forest is surrounded by Emmen. Initially, the trail will pass through a group of burial mounds, before continuing along the yellow-capped posts of the Staatsbosbeheer trail that will take you past the most beautiful spots in the Emmerdennen. The forest also boasts several lakes, including het Appeltje, a round lake named after… you guessed it - an apple! You’ll also find the Haantjesduin in Emmerdennen, the highest natural point in Drenthe, as well as the entire Hondsrug, the only geopark in the Netherlands.
    • The trail continues to dolmen D45, one of the most beautiful of its kind in Drenthe. Remarkably, some claim they can see the image of a hand on one of the capstones of the D45 dolmen, with others labelling it a horseshoe. In 1809, King Louis Napoleon visited Drenthe and toured its many dolmens with the Governor of Drenthe, Petrus Hofstede. The story goes that when Louis Napoleon first glimpsed the dolmen, he raced out ahead of the pack, climbed the megalith with his horse and stood there waiting for his companions, doing his best to resemble a horseman statue.
    • Eventually, you’ll find yourself returning to the centre of Emmen. On the Stationsstraat, you’ll come across Stolpersteine (Stumbling Stones). These concrete stones measure 10x10cm and are topped with brass commemorative plates, engraved with the deceased’s names, dates of birth and dates and places of death.
    • Make the most of your time in Emmen and pass by the Emmen district court, one of the country’s official district courts from 1877 to 2014. The courthouse dates from approx. 1840 and is now a national monument.
    • The ‘Emmerdennen’ trail has now come to an end. Sit back and relax in one of the many great local cafés or restaurants and look back on this stunning hike.
    End point: Stationsplein 14
    7811 GC Emmen