Boom en Beekdal route

2 hours 48 minutes (56.0 km)
Managed by: Recreatieschap Drenthe

The 56-kilometre ‘Boom en Beekdal’ cycling route takes you to the prison village of Veenhuizen: an extraordinary place with a unique story. In the 19th century, the Society of Humanitarianism founded a farming colony for vagrants, beggars, orphans and foundlings. Veenhuizen was a self-sufficient village with prisons, schools, churches, a spinning mill and farms. The story behind this ‘pauper’s paradise’ as told in the National Prison Museum is impressive and touching.

You will not just experience the history of Veenhuizen during this cyc…

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The 56-kilometre ‘Boom en Beekdal’ cycling route takes you to the prison village of Veenhuizen: an extraordinary place with a unique story. In the 19th century, the Society of Humanitarianism founded a farming colony for vagrants, beggars, orphans and foundlings. Veenhuizen was a self-sufficient village with prisons, schools, churches, a spinning mill and farms. The story behind this ‘pauper’s paradise’ as told in the National Prison Museum is impressive and touching.

You will not just experience the history of Veenhuizen during this cycling route: you will also cycle past dolmens and through the stunning Drenthe villages of Roden, Peize and Norg, and will be transported back in time at the manor houses and country estates surrounding Paterswolde and Eelde. Don’t hesitate to take a break and enjoy the views. Climb the Mensingebosch observation tower and feast your eyes on views all across the Lieversche Diep brook valley.

The cycling route starts at the Prison Museum car park in Veenhuizen, neat the Oude Gracht 40, 9341 AB Veenhuizen (Hub point 78). There is plenty of free parking available. It is also possible to join the route at other locations by following the signs.

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Sights on this route

Oude Gracht 40
9341 AB VEENHUIZEN

Oude Gracht 40
9341 AB VEENHUIZEN

The National Prison Museum

Oude Gracht 1
9341 AA Veenhuizen

Hospitaallaan 19
9341 AG Veenhuizen

Hospitaallaan 48
9341 AH Veenhuizen

Oude Norgerweg 3
9341 TG Veenhuizen
88 86 65

Hoofdstraat 61
9342 TA Een
70 71

Dolmen D1

9307 Steenbergen
74 75

Brink 31
9301 JK Roden
35

Schoolstraat 1
9301 KB Roden
34

Mensingheweg 5 -
9301 KA Roden

Mensingheweg 7
9301 KA Roden

Mensingheweg 20
9301 KA Roden

9304 Roden
73 24 37 29

Paiser Meul

Molenpad 1
9321 CA Peize

Raadhuisstraat 1
9321 BA Peize
35

Kerkstraat 2
9321HB Peize

Helmerdijk 71
9761 VN Eelde
21

Hoofdweg 76
9761 EK Eelde

Hoofdweg 23
9761 EA Eelde
16 20 22 12 07

9333 Langelo
15 48

Brink 2
9331 AA Norg
87

Asserstraat 1
9331 JA Norg
Workshop

Glasuniek

Asserstraat 3
9331 JA Norg

De Hoop

Asserstraat 36
Norg

9331 JB Norg

9330 Norg

Dolmen D2

7814 Westervelde
80 84 63

Hoofdweg 112
9341 BK Veenhuizen

Hoofdweg 116
9341 BK Veenhuizen

Hoofdweg 134
9341 BL Veenhuizen

Hoofdweg 138
9341 BL Veenhuizen

Hoofdweg 140
9341 BL Veenhuizen

Maallust Brewery

Hoofdweg 140
9341 BL Veenhuizen

Kerklaan 6
9341 AV Veenhuizen

Oude Gracht 4 a
9341 AB Veenhuizen

Oude Gracht 4 a
9341 AB Veenhuizen
78

Oude Gracht 40
9341 AB VEENHUIZEN

Directions

Oude Gracht 40
9341 AB VEENHUIZEN
  • The cycling route starts at the car park on the Haulerweg in Veenhuizen, near the Veenhuizen Tourist Info. The original village of Veenhuizen back in the 14th century consisted of seven farmsteads and was situated the chapel - demolished in 1660 - at the Spanish Cemetery. In contrast to the colony in Frederiksoord, Veenhuizen adopted a more forcible approach for which three institutional buildings were created in total. These buildings with moats, of which only the Tweede Gesticht (Second Institution, now the National Prison Museum) remains, were set up in a long U-shape (approx. 125 metres). In 1859, responsibility for Veenhuizen was transferred to the Ministry of Justice, after which it was put to use as a correctional institution (now called a penal institution). Veenhuizen was considered by many as the ‘Dutch Siberia’. Owing to their unique history, the museum and the buildings on the site are definitely worth a visit.
  • The route continues towards Roden, passing through the village of Een along the way. The name Een is derived from Drenthe dialect for ‘Eden’, which probably meant ‘peat’. Dolmen D1 is located near the village of Steenbergen, between Een and Roden. The dolmens in Drenthe are numbered based on their location, running from north to south, with D1 being the most northerly dolmen. It is an excellent specimen, medium in size and almost pristine, and is situated against the incline of a sand dune. It was completely restored in 1953-1954.
  • Roden is first mentioned in 1139. Its reformed church is also mentioned that year. The current church dates back to the 13th and 15th centuries, with the Mensinge manor house right next to it. The current house was built in 1646 and is currently in use as a museum. The estate it stands on is part of the Mensingebos. Its lanes lined with oak trees, surrounding the wooded parcels, are very striking. The observatory ‘Kapteyn’ stands on the edge of the forest and is now owned by the University of Groningen. The Brink showcases the statue of ‘Ot en Sien’ in honour of children’s book writer H. Scheepstra (1859-1913) and illustrator C. Jetses (1873-1954). The Museum Kinderwereld (Child’s World Museum) has a collection of antique children’s toys, among other things.
  • Just outside Roden, the view is magnificent: climb the small Mensingebosch observation tower and take in the Lieversche Diep brook valley.
  • The route takes course towards Peize, where you can enjoy the stunning Drenthe landscape. The village of Peize is mentioned as early as 1165. In the 12th century, a noble family from Groningen commissioned the fortress ‘Huis te Peize’. Unfortunately, the fortress was demolished in the 19th century and parts of the ruins have been incorporated into the farmsteads between the mill and the church. From 1600 until 1840, Peize was the largest producer of hops for beer-brewing in all of Drenthe. The village’s reformed church was built in the second half of the 13th century. Its current tower was built in 1824. The organ in the church was crafted in 1631 and is one of the oldest in Drenthe.
  • The route leads you away from Peize and on towards Eelde/Paterswolde. The village of Eelde is mentioned in a declaration as early as 1139 and Paterswolde gets a mention in 1447. Paterswolde fused with Eelde after the Second World War. Well-known in the area are the magnificent villas, including the Vennebroek, Lemferdinge and Oosterbroek manor houses and De Braak and De Duinen country estates. The current gothic Onze Lieve Vrouwe- en Sint Gangulphus church dates back to the 14th century and sits in a spot where its tufa stone predecessor also stood. Some interesting details include the paintings on the vaulted ceiling and the gravestones, the oldest from 1545 for the Sigers family. Beside the church is the Nijsinghhuis, a 17th century building that served as courthouse, police headquarters and Town Hall. Located near Eelde is De Waterburcht, a remnant of a medieval motte-and-bailey castle, surrounded by three moats and a manor house. The castle was destroyed in 1266, but it is not known if it was rebuilt after. A motte-and-bailey castle consist of a rather steep hill of about 5 metres, with a wooden or stone tower on top. These types of castles were constructed from the 11th to the 13th century as a powerbase for local rulers. The best-known motte-and-bailey castle in Drenthe is Coevorden castle. Manor house Terborch was built on the site in the 17th century, and demolished in 1801.
  • The cycling route continues towards Norg. Norg is first mentioned in 1139. The reformed Sint-Margaretha church dates back to the 13th century and features two sandstone baptismal fonts: one from the 12th century and the other - made from Bentheim sandstone - dating back to the 13rd century. The Norgerholt to the south of Norg dates back to the 9th century and is considered one of the oldest forests in the Netherlands. It contains mostly oak trees and holly. There is a pit in the forest where the members of the marke (common land) of Norg used to hold their meetings. The small dolmen D2 lies between the Norgerholt and the hamlet of Westervelde. Westervelde is also home to the Huis te Westervelde (or Tonckensborg), a mansion and farm that has been inhabited by the Tonckens family since 1709. It is only a short distance from Norg to Veenhuizen.
  • The route takes you past the Koepelkerk or dome church of Veenhuizen, built around 1826 as a Waterstaatskerk (a church designed and paid for by the Bureau for Water Management) following the example of the Koepelkerk in Smilde. The church was intended for the Reformed colony inhabitants from the Society of Humanitarianism in Veenhuizen. The church is unique thanks to its octagonal cupola and is still in use today. A visit to the Maallust brewery makes for the perfect end to this cycling route. For a long time, the prison village Veenhuizen was a self-sufficient village. As well as prisons, it also contained schools, churches, a spinning mill and farms. The village’s industrial complex processed the agricultural products from the land nearby. The former flour mill now houses Maallust brewery, which has been brewing beer using traditional methods since 2011.
  • The ‘Boom en Beekdal’ cycling route finishes here. Recharge your batteries in a local cafe or restaurant to reflect on this amazing cycling trip.

Oude Gracht 40
9341 AB VEENHUIZEN
88
86
65
70
71
74
75
35
34
73
24
37
29
35
21
16
20
22
12
07
15
48
87
80
84
63
78