it’s no surprise that visitors flock to Amsterdam year after year, but what does surprise me, is that visitors often skip the most beautiful part of the Netherlands; the other Holland. The other Holland consists of some amazing places like Arnhem, Nijmegen, the Veluwe, Achterhoek or Rivierenland, and will also provide you with unique experiences. It is basically the entire pink part of the map below.
The Arnhem Nijmegen area is definitely worth a visit. It is associated with history, culture, and nature. It is the place where I grew up. Here you can also find the ‘Liemers’ area. De Liemers is an area of the Netherlands which, although not well known, is certainly not unloved. Zevenaar is the bustling heart of De Liemers and has a charming city center with some cafés, shops, museums and historic buildings. One of those buildings, is Buitengoed de Panoven, which I can definitely recommend you to visit!
Buitengoed de Panoven is a well-maintained industrial heritage site. The former brick and rooftile factory (dating back to 1850 I believe), is now a recreational area with group accommodation, hotel rooms, a restaurant, and a place where you can enjoy all kind of activities.
After a beautiful train ride, where I crossed different Dutch landscapes, I arrived at train station Zevenaar. I have the feeling that I arrived at a different part of the Netherlands, away from the tourist over-floated city centers of the West, and now in the real countryside. After a few minutes walking, I see a kiln in the distance, and know I am heading in the right direction. And there it is… the former brick factory and now an industrial heritage. It truly looks amazing and I can’t wait to explore the inside, but first I need to find the reception and check-in for my stay.
After a warm welcome by the current owners, the Kruitwagen family and the last living brickmaker of the factory, Wim Kruitwagen, I get accompanied to my room; a sustainable Nature Lodge Room. They explain me that the room is made from Styrofoam, and has the shape of the kiln (8 corners and a kiln on top). The Styrofoam construction makes it a very sustainable concept. Interesting! The room itself is comfortably equipped with two beds, a mini-bar, desk, two chairs, coffee machine, water boiler, and modern bathroom. Great comfort for a cheap price (only € 42,00 a night).
The Kruitwagen family told me about the different activities they offer, ranging from guided tours, to a beaver walking route, or archery workshop. I would love to know more about this amazing piece of the Netherlands and decide to sign in for a guided tour. A friendly old guy tells the story from raw clay to bricks and in the end, we bake a brick ourselves. It is funny and not so easy as it looks like, but after a while I manage to create something that looks like a brick. After writing my name and the date on top of it, the stone is ready and can dry. When it is dry, I can even bring it home with me. Great memory! After the guided tour, I decided to walk the beaver route myself. It took about an hour and during the way I found several beaver trails and droppings.
In the evening, I decide to try a three-course day menu in the restaurant of Buitengoed de Panoven. The restaurant is known for the use of local products and unique flavors. It was delicious!
The next day, after breakfast, I decide to explore the local surrounding! With my rental bike and bicycle routes that I got from the reception, I am going to explore de Liemers. I will bike the ‘Rondje Liemers’ route of 50 kilometers, that will take me to several interesting spots like nature parks, lakes, culinary places, and other historical buildings. It truly is a beautiful area! On the way, I stopped for lunch at ‘Gasterij de Kommensaal’, which I can definitely recommend! At the end of the route, I cross the city center of Zevenaar and decide to have some dinner at a Latin-American restaurant ‘De Revolutie’. This restaurant has a cozy atmosphere and delicious food too! By then end of my day, I was so glad that I included this bicycle route in my travel itinerary.
The next morning, I check out and continue my way to work. It was a great weekend trip! Buitengoed de Panoven is definitely a nice place to enjoy some cultural history, beautiful nature, and taste local products. Don’t forget to put it in your Netherlands itinerary!
This article is part of the GPSmyCity iOS app. You can download it, read this article offline and obtain travel directions (by foot, car or bicycle) to the places mentioned in this article. Click here to download it.
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