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A bicycle tour in a beautiful landscape with a tragic history
It is amazing to see how great of an impact the past can have on the present. During this tour we will be exploring Sallandse Heuvelrug by diving into its history. This National Park is and was once much more than just a piece of land or a beautiful scene. It was once a land that housed pain and destruction. There have been men battling and being killed here during the Second World War. The landscape still shows the scars. An important part of this tour is the contrasting war events, which represent death and pain, and the beautiful nature, which showcases beauty and inspiration. This is based on the poem Grodek from Georg Trakl (see below). However, its history, though not perfect, created the beauty that Sallandse Heuvelrug is today. How it came to be arguably one of the most beautiful nature scenes left in the Netherlands is the main question we will be answering in this tour.
Grodek, written by Georg Trakl (1887-1914) in 1913.
At evening the autumnal forests resound
With deadly weapons, the golden plains
And blue lakes, above them the sun
Rolls more darkly by; night enfolds
The dying warriors, the wild lament
Of their broken mouths.
But in the grassy vale the spilled blood,
Red clouds in which an angry God lives,
Gathers softly, lunar coldness;
All roads lead to black decay.
Beneath the golden boughs of night and stars
The sister’s shadow reels through the silent grove
To greet the ghosts of heroes, their bleeding heads;
And the dark flutes of autumn sound softly in the reeds.
O prouder sorrow! you brazen altars
Today an immense anguish feeds the mind’s hot flame,
The unborn descendants.1
German version (original)
Am Abend tönen die herbstlichen Wälder
Von tödlichen Waffen, die goldnen Ebenen
Und blauen Seen, darüber die Sonne
Düstrer hinrollt; umfängt die Nacht
Sterbende Krieger, die wilde Klage
Ihrer zerbrochenen Münder.
Doch stille sammelt im Weidengrund
Rotes Gewölk, darin ein zürnender Gott wohnt
Das vergossne Blut sich, mondne Kühle;
Alle Straßen münden in schwarze Verwesung.
Unter goldnem Gezweig der Nacht und Sternen
Es schwankt der Schwester Schatten durch den schweigenden Hain,
Zu grüßen die Geister der Helden, die blutenden Häupter;
Und leise tönen im Rohr die dunkeln Flöten des Herbstes.
O stolzere Trauer! ihr ehernen Altäre
Die heiße Flamme des Geistes nährt heute ein gewaltiger Schmerz,
Die ungebornen Enkel.2
There are two routes to choose from: a short one and a long one. From Nijverdal station the short one is 19 km and will be 2 to 3 hours with stops. The long route is 27 km and will include the Canadian War Cemetery in Holten. This route takes 3 to 4 hours with stops.
Transport during the tour
To participate in our tour, you need a bike. There are three options for you to get a bike to do this bicycle route.
- First, you can bring your own bike. It is possible to buy a day card at the NS. With this day card you are allowed to take your bike with you on the train.
- It is also possible to take a folding bike with you.
- Another option is to rent an OV-bike at the OV-bike station at train station Nijverdal. This OV-bike station is located at the perron 2 side of the train station. The cost of renting an OV-bike is 3,95 euros per 24 hours. If you choose this option, don’t forget to activate the product of renting an OV-bike on your OV-chipcard.
- Bring sunscreen cream.
- Bring enough water with you. In Nijverdal and Holten are options to buy food or go to the toilet, but you can always take your own food with you.
- Maps of the whole routes are added at the end of the route description. The green point are the nature audio’s.
- DON’T FORGET TO DOWNLOAD THE AUDIO AND THIS TOUR DESCRIPTION BEFOREHAND. FOR THE TOUR DESCRIPTION, YOU COULD ALSO PRINT THIS BROCHURE OUT.
Train station to start point of the tour.
From the OV-bike station at Nijverdal Station you can start to bike to the start point of the tour, which is at the Buitencentrum Sallandse Heuvelrug.
There is a biking path right next to the OV-bike station, take this path going left onto the Bouwmeesterstraat. Keep on biking on this road until you come across a car road. Take a left onto the De Joncheerelaan, where you will ride on a bridge above the train rail. Follow the road and take a right at the cross-section onto the Grotestraat. If you are on the right road, you will see a long biking path ahead, which will go up. Keep on going straight, at the end this road will bend, just keep on following the road. Take a left and then a right turn onto the Nijverdalsebergweg. If correct, you see a wooden/steel building in front of you. This is the Buitencentrum Sallandse Heuvelrug where the tour will start. You can sit here to start the first audio of this tour, The Introduction and Nature stop 1. This is the purple point in map 1.
You will now bike to the next audio location. Follow the car road on the Nijverdalsebergweg. On this road you will see the next audio location, V1 Platform, on your right. You can get off the car road and start the audio here. On map 1 this is point B.
Nature stop 2
For the second stop you follow the car road on the Nijverdalsebergweg again. On top of the hill there is a small walking path on your right. You can leave your bicycle here and follow the path to the viewpoint. Here you can start audio Nature stop 2 and enjoy the view. This is the green point on just above point C on map 3.
This next stop is optional and will contain the audio Poem. Immediately after the viewpoint on the right side of the road where Nature stop 2 was, there is another viewpoint on your left. You can leave your bicycle on the small walking path and walk towards the viewpoint and start audio Poem. This is the blue point on Map 3 just below point C.
For the next stop you will have to follow the car road on the Nijverdalsebergweg, which changes its name into the Rietslenkpad. Keep on following the car road, if you are taking the correct route, the nature will change to a more forest environment. At some point on this road, you will come across a stone on the left and right side of the road, this point marks the crossing to Holten. The Rietslenkpad changes in the Holterbergweg, where you are surrounded with a more heath landscape. You will again enter a more forest environment, soon after you do there will be a steep hill.
Beware! Splitting of the tour into the short and long route. They will come together again on the Haarlerweg.
If you are taking the short route you will have to go right on the crossing on this hill, to go onto the Plaggenweg. To remember this crossing: on the right side of the road at this crossing there is a red “wegpaddenstoel”. You will need to keep on going ahead on the Plaggenweg until you come across an intersection. You will need to make a right, onto the Haarlerweg.
(Optional: Long route) Holten Canadian War Cemetery
If you are taking the long route you will have to keep on going ahead on the Holterbergweg and finish this long and steep hill. After a while you will come in a more recreation environment, with more building and probably people. You need to take a left onto the Wullenbergweg, if correct you will see a small cafe on your left. When you take the Wullenbergweg, at the T-junction, take a left. You will see the Canadian War Cemetery on your left. Here you can listen to the audio of the Holten Canadian War Cemetery. On map 5 this is point D.
When finished you need to take the same route back to the small cafe, here take a right. At your left you there is a parking space, after the parking space, take a left turn onto the Motieweg. Keep on this road until you arrive at a T-junction, take a right onto the Helhuizerweg. Keep on going ahead until you reach the intersection with the Haarlerweg, take a right. At this intersection there is again a red “wegpaddenstoel” on the right side of the road.
Marinus Stevens monument and the hiding place
On the Haarlerweg you can find the Marinus Stevens monument on your right. Here you can
start the audio Marinus Stevens monument. If you want, you can also follow the path on your right (behind the monument) to the hiding place and start the audio Hiding place. On Map 2 point D and, on Map 5 point E.
You can continue to follow the Haarlerweg. After a while this road runs over in the Van Heekweg. You can continue following this road. On the right of the Van Heekweg you can find a small information board with an airplane on it. There are multiple of this boards at the Sallandse Heuvelrug and they mark the location of airplanes that crashed during World War 2.
Patheltoren and Nature stop 3
For the next stop you can continue the Van Heekweg. On your right you will see the Patheltoren. Here you can start the audio. Here you can also listen to the audio of Nature stop 3. Point E on Map 2 and point F on Map 5.
Nature stop 4.
After the Patheltoren you can continue the Van Heekweg. Then you take the second road to the right, the Paltheweg. On the Paltheweg you will see a little bench on your right, here you can listen to the audio Nature stop 4. This is the green point on Map 3.
When you continue the Paltheweg, after a while you will see the last stop: monument workcamp Twilhaar. From the road the entrance gates will be visible on your right (see figure 2). Here you can follow the path to the right. When you passed the entrance you will find the monument, two picture frames on your left. If you walk further, you can find a board with more information about the Workcamp. This is point F on Map 3 and point G on Map 5. Figure 3 shows how the workcamp used to look like.
From Workcamp Twilhaar back to station Nijverdal
From Workcamp Twilhaar you return to the Paltheweg and go right to continue the Paltheweg. Then take the first road to the left. After that you take the first road to the right. This road will run over in the Grotestraat. Below the hill there is a big junction where you go left to De Joncheerelaan. Then you take the second road to the right, the Bouwmeesterstraat. This road will run over in a bicycle road where you will find station Nijverdal at your right.