The Runde

2 hours 33 minutes (51.0 km)
Managed by: Recreatieschap Drenthe

Experience the silence, emptiness and endless views in the peat bog on the border of southeast Drenthe and Germany, before returning to the vibrant city of Emmen.

From the bustling centre of Emmen, cycle out of the city and continue to the east. Suddenly, you will imagine yourself in a whole other world. The landscape here is simple and straightforward. The plots and canals betray the area’s history with the peat industry, with most of the bog having been excavated and used as fuel. The landscape, however, is still there. Emptiness, silence and endless views without a sign of human life. Take a brief breather at the river Runde, one of the few natural watercourses in the area, with only the rippling water breaking the silence.

The Veenpark mu…

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Experience the silence, emptiness and endless views in the peat bog on the border of southeast Drenthe and Germany, before returning to the vibrant city of Emmen.

From the bustling centre of Emmen, cycle out of the city and continue to the east. Suddenly, you will imagine yourself in a whole other world. The landscape here is simple and straightforward. The plots and canals betray the area’s history with the peat industry, with most of the bog having been excavated and used as fuel. The landscape, however, is still there. Emptiness, silence and endless views without a sign of human life. Take a brief breather at the river Runde, one of the few natural watercourses in the area, with only the rippling water breaking the silence.

The Veenpark museum in Barger-Compascuum brings the historical peat industry to life, as you make your way through nostalgic villages and a natural peat bog. The baker, grocer, clogmaker and peat cutter still go to work here, day in, day out.

The Bargerveen is part of the International Veenland Natural Park. Make sure to stay on the bike path to avoid sinking into the land without leaving a trace: sucking swamps, rotting peat pits and treacherous fields of peat moss lurk here.

Back in Emmen, unwind at a patio bar and acclimatise to civilisation again.

The route starts at the Hoofdstraat in Emmen. There is paid parking nearby. However, you can also use the signs to start the trail elsewhere.

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Sights on this route

Starting point: Hoofdstraat 26
7811 EP Emmen

Schoolstraat 5
7811 EP Emmen

Hoofdstraat 18
7811 EP Emmen

Monetpassage 2
7811 DM Emmen

Raadhuisplein 99
7811 AP Emmen
52

Stadionplein 1
7825 SG Emmen

Pioniersweg 1 a
7826 TA Emmen
50 56 75 73 92

van Echtenstraat
Klazienaveen

De Omloop 8
7891 KS Klazienaveen
99 60

Verlengde Scheperweg
7765 Zwartemeer
59

7765 Weiteveen
62

7894 Zwartemeer
64

7894 Zwartemeer
94 93 95 65

Berkenrode 4
7884 TR Barger-Compascuum
01

Scholtenskanaal o.z. 62
7889 VD Klazienaveen-Noord
70 50 51

Oude Markeweg 0
7825 TD Emmen
55

Dolmen D45

7822 Emmen
21
End point: Hoofdstraat 26
7811 EP Emmen

Directions

Starting point: Hoofdstraat 26
7811 EP Emmen
  • Emmen is located on the Hondsrug, a special geological area that was shaped by large glaciers in the penultimate ice age when shifting masses of ice shaped this straight line from Groningen to Coevorden. In September 2013, UNESCO officially named the Hondsrug area a European Geopark, making it the first UNESCO Global Geopark in the country.
  • This area was a popular place to settle ages ago, as shown by the archaeological finds of flint tools belonging to the area’s first inhabitants: the Neanderthals. The presence of mysterious dolmens and prehistoric burial mounds (5,000 years old) are the clearest signs of early habitation.
  • Emmen is also called the ‘open, green city’. New housing estates were built away from the core of the city to preserve natural urban areas, and WILDLANDS Adventure Zoo Emmen has earned the city global fame, as well as the nickname ‘Butterfly city’.
  • Follow the signs to leave Emmen and cycle east. By the time you reach the Oosterbos forest, you will have left the hustle and bustle of the city well behind you. This forest belongs to the Emmen forest council and spans approximately 250 hectares. It was planted by the State Forestry Commission in the 1970s in order to replace the peat colonies. Next to the forest, you will find peat ditches and meadows, and most of the forest was planted on unexcavated bogs.
  • Take a brief break at the Koning Willem-Alexanderkanaal to watch the passing boats, a 6-kilometre waterway that was inaugurated in 2013. It connects the Scholtenskanaal near Klazienaveen and the Bladderswijk near Oranjedorp, with the aim of drawing more pleasure boats and tourists to the peat colonies.
  • Now cycle on to Klazienaveen, a village that was originally founded as a peat colony by A. Scholten, an industrialist from Groningen in the 19th century. He named the place after his wife, Klaziena. Klazienaveen-Noord is an agricultural area that is home to a great many greenhouses. The village centre is surprising and has a varied range of shops. Stop here to experience just how enjoyable these restaurants and cafés can be. While you are there, why not visit ‘The Peat Worker’, a sculpture designed by Bert Kiewiet. This is not just any sculpture: it was proclaimed the ‘Klazienaveen resident of the 20th century’ by the people of Klazienaveen. There is not a family in Klazienaveen that cannot trace its history back to the peat industry in one way or another. The sculpture symbolises the very identity of Klazienaveen.
  • Jump back on your bike and head towards the Bargerveen, a peat bog that, along with the surrounding historical landscape, belongs to the International Veenland Natural Park. The park is international because it also includes the German peat bog. Few places in the Netherlands are as desolate at this area: it might as well be a whole other world. Reclamation, peat extraction and agriculture have left their mark on the landscape. The remaining peat bogs form the habitat for numerous endangered animal and plant species. Leave the Bargerveen and prepare yourself to finally meet the namesake of this trail: the river Runde. Having spent all that time amidst canals, the time has now come to cycle along a natural watercourse.
  • The village of Zwartemeer is a former peat colony that was founded in 1871, south of the former Black Lake, a bog lake that was originally the source of the river Runde. The lake has since been reclaimed. The peat workers who lived and worked in this area were mainly from catholic parts of Twente and Germany, which is why the majority of today’s inhabitants have a Catholic background and why you will find a lot of German surnames.
  • Pedal on to Barger-Compascuum, while marveling at the endless views along the way. A visit to the Veenpark museum, where the historical peat industry comes to life, is definitely worthwile.
  • Just before Emmen, you will come across the northern part of the Oosterbos forest and pass the N31, the ring road around Emmen. Re-enter Emmen through the Emmerschans district, named after the defenses that were built in 1594 to protect the former Emmerdijk against enemies who had sought to use the dike to reach the higher sandy ground around Emmen.
  • Just before you reach the centre of Emmen, you will find yourself unexpectedly cycling into a nature reserve: the Emmerdennen. This forest was built in the 19th century to secure the sand dunes, the surrounding fields were in danger over being covered by sand. The Haantjesduin, reaching up to 27 metres above sea level, is one of the highest peaks of the Hondsrug. In the forest, you will also find dolmen D45.
  • Dive back into the vibrant city life of Emmen, where a bevy of hospitable restaurants and bars invite you to come in for a cup of coffee and cake.
End point: Hoofdstraat 26
7811 EP Emmen
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