Drenthe Forest Trail

2 hours 9 minutes (43.0 km)
Managed by: Recreatieschap Drenthe

The Drenthe Forest cycle trail will mainly take you through protected forest areas and the lovely little villages of Grolloo, Hooghalen and Schoonloo, but you will also pass the impressive Camp Westerbork and several striking radio telescopes.

The Drenthe Forest trail goes right through the Drentse Hooglanden, or the Highlands of Drenthe, which promise vast, picturesque landscapes with heathland, forests and Scottish Highlanders. A visit to Camp Westerbork Memorial Centre is sure to impress, bringing the tragedy of the Second World War to life. A little further down the road, you will suddenly find yourself surrounded by radio telescopes. Walk or cycle across the VAM mountain and enjoy the beautiful views from the highest point in Drenthe.

This 42-kilometre cycle trail will lead you past various highlights that have shaped Drenthe.

The trail starts at Camp Westerbork Memorial Centre, where there is ample parking.

Sights on this route

Starting point: Oosthalen 8
9414 TG Hooghalen

Westerbork Memorial Centre

Oosthalen 8
9414 TG Hooghalen

Schattenberg 1
9433 TA Zwiggelte

9442 Elp
58

9446 Amen
52

9431 Westerbork
55

9442 Elp
50

9442 PL Elp
56 74

Hoofdstraat
9443 Schoonloo
51

Ieberen
9443 Schoonloo
54

voorstreek 4
9444 PE Grolloo
96 95

café de amer
amen 20
9446PC amen

Amen 61
9446 PB Amen
22 33 31

9414 Hooghalen

Kerkweg
9414 Hooghalen
03

9414 Hooghalen
End point: Oosthalen 8
9414 TG Hooghalen

Directions

Starting point: Oosthalen 8
9414 TG Hooghalen
  • The Camp Westerbork Memorial Centre forms the memorable start to this cycle trail, telling the stories of the camp’s victims and survivors in the Second World War. These personal stories, told in exhibitions and films, are also suitable for children. Inside the camp, monuments remind us of this black page in history. The former roll call site of the camp is now home to over 100,000 stones, symbolising every Jewish person, gypsy or resistance fighter who was deported during the Second World War and did not return. The section of railroad with curved rails symbolises the destruction of this tragic time. Nowadays, Camp Westerbork is surrounded by a beautiful area where nature and technology meet. The camp is now in the middle of the Hooghalen protected forest, which did not become a production forest until after the war. The Hingstveen, on the other hand, gives a striking impression of what the area would have looked like in the past: barren, wild and full of fens.
  • The route continues in the direction of Amen. The minor esdorp village of Amen is first mentioned as 944. Its name does not have a Christian background, but probably refers to a settlement on the historic Aam river.
  • For years, blues singer Harry Muskee lived in a Grolloo farmhouse, which his band, Cuby & the Blizzards used a rehearsal studio. In June 2011, the farmhouse was turned into a museum about Cuby & the Blizzards. The name Grollo (with a single “o”) even features in the title of one of the band’s albums: Groeten uit Grollo. A bust of Muskee graces the centre of the village. Near Grolloo, you will also find on the Netherlands’ very first climbing parks. Here, you can make your way through the forest and over the Kleine Moere pond through various obstacle courses and with several zip lines.
  • The protected forests of Grolloo, Schoonloo and Hooghalen were built in the first half of the 20th century to create jobs. They are home to various swimming bonds, including the Ieberenplas Elp and ‘t Loomeer near Schoonloo. The sandy playgrounds at Hooghalen and Grolloo are fantastic places for children - as well as dogs - to have the time of their lives.
  • The Drenthe Forest Trail continues to Elp, where the Second World War has also left its mark. Twelve of the myriad old farms that used to populate the village were burned down after bombing raids, though several farms on the Hogebrinksweg have remained intact. These farms were also used to record the Dutch television show Bartje. The farms at Hogebrinksweg 1 and 3 have even been made national monuments.
  • You will cycle past the tourist village of Westerbork, which boasts many lovely restaurants and bars. Westerbork is one of the larger villages in Central Drenthe and it originally had four shared fields. Westerbork is a bustling village, with a large number of bars and restaurants girdling the old village square. Westerbork’s late-Gothic church dates from the 15th century, but the lower part of the church has been there since the 14th century. The large bricks used in the lower section of the church tower are also known as kloostermoppen, or monastery bricks, after monks reintroduced brick building in the Netherlands in the 12th and 13th century. You will also find Museum-Restaurant ‘De Ar’ here, a resting place, café and restaurant with the interior of a museum. Guests will find themselves in an early-20th-century shop, a Zuid-Holland cheese shop or a collection of old-fashioned hairdresser’s objects: there’s plenty to see!
  • The Holmers & Halkenbroek brook valley is one of the source areas of the Drenthe Aa. In order to give this area a more natural look, coniferous trees were felled, ditches and other watercourses were filled in and the fertile topsoil was removed. The Amerdiep can now run its own course. In Halkenbroek, the Amerdiep has started to re-meander. From the 14-metre watchtower, you can enjoy magnificent views over Holmers & Halkenbroek.
  • To get here, follow the so-called Melkwegpad (Milky Way), a short trail of about 3 kilometres. Information panels will teach you all there is to know about our fascinating universe and the largest radio telescopes in Europe, which are a little way further down the road, on the outskirts of the Dwingeloo heath.
  • Then you will make your way back to the starting location.
End point: Oosthalen 8
9414 TG Hooghalen
58
52
55
50
56
74
51
54
96
95
22
33
31
03