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Once the private property of the Kröller-Müller family, this is now the largest national park in Holland. It covers 13,300 acres of forest and grassland, moors, and sand dunes, where it is possible to stroll freely, apart from a few areas reserved for wildlife. The traditional hunting grounds of the Dutch royal family, it is populated with red deer, boar, roes, mouflons (wild sheep), and many birds; it is also filled with towering pines and hardwood trees, dotted with small villages (Hoog Soeren, near Apeldoorn, is particularly charming), and laced with paths for cars, bicycles, and walkers, more than 42 km (27 miles) of which are specifically designated for bicycling. Indeed, there are 1,700 white bicycles at your disposal here, free to use with the price of admission (available at the entrances to the park, at the visitor center, De Koperen Kop restaurant, and at the Kröller-Müller museum; return them to any bike rack when you are finished).
There is a landlocked,
always-shifting sand dune to marvel at; the world's first museum of all things that live (or have lived) underground; plus an old hunting lodge beside a pond that provides a nice stopping place. At the heart of the park is the visitor center (Bezoekers Centrum), which contains exhibits on the park and an observation point for game-watching. Jachthuis Sint Hubertus (St. Hubert Hunting Lodge) was the private home and hunting lodge of the Kröller-Müllers, a monumental house planned in the shape of antlers, built between 1914 and 1920 by Dutch architect H. P. Berlage around the legend of St. Hubert, the patron saint of hunters. Rooms with Art Deco furniture follow in sequence from dark to light, representing Hubert's spiritual development and path of enlightenment from agnostic to saint. Free guided tours of the lodge, which is still used as a residence for visiting dignitaries, may be arranged at the park entrance only.
Inside the visitor center is Museonder, an underground museum, offering visitors a fascinating look at life below the surface, including a simulated earthquake. There are three restaurants in the park: De Koperen Kop, a self-service restaurant in the center of the park opposite the visitor center (0318/591–289); Café Monsieur Jacques at the Kröller-Müller Museum (0318/591–657); and De Theekopel teahouse. The best opportunity for game-watching is at the end of the afternoon and toward evening, and park officials advise that you stay in your car when you spot any wildlife. Special observation sites are signified by antlers on the maps provided at the entrances.
Entrances at Hoenderloo, Otterlo, and Schaarsbergen, Apeldoorn, 7351 TA, Netherlands
0800-835–3628-weekdays 9–11 only