Gelderland is one of the twelve provinces of the Netherlands, the largest province by area. It lies in the east of the country. It is sometimes called Guelders in English.
The region in the east of Gelderland, a mostly agricultural area. The most noteworthy cities here are Doetinchem, Winterswijk and Zutphen.
Also known as the Betuwe, Rivierenland is characterised by de Bommelerwaard en the Land van Maas en Waal. The Betuwe is known for its cultivation of fruits. Tiel is the biggest city in the region.
|Stadsregio Arnhem Nijmegen / Midden-Gelre |
The large cities Arnhem and Nijmegen and their surroundings.
A large area covered mostly by forest. Apeldoorn is the largest city here.
- 1 Apeldoorn — a very green city with lots of monuments and parks, as well as the home to Het Loo Palace
- 2 Arnhem — capital of Gelderland and the gateway to the Veluwe
- 3 Barneveld — with a permanent exhibition on the Veluwe and a poultry museum
- 4 Culemborg — a historic city founded in 1315
- 5 Doetinchem — capital of and gateway to the rural Achterhoek region.
- 6 Ede — gateway for cycling tours through the Veluwe
- 7 Elburg — with a preserved rectangular street grid and fortifications
- 8 Harderwijk — known for its Dolfinarium, a dolphin theme park
- 9 Nijmegen — oldest city of the country, known for its marches, left-wing politics and large student population
- 10 Tiel — an old and historic town, and one of the largest fruit production centres of the country
- 11 Wageningen — a major student city due to its agricultural university
- 12 Wijchen
- 13 Zutphen — first town to get city rights in medieval times
- 1 Hoge Veluwe National Park — the country's largest national park with heathlands, sand dunes, and woodlands. Also Kröller-Müller Museum with the largest collection of Van Gogh's work, located in the middle of the Hoge Veluwe.
- 2 Veluwezoom National Park — the country's oldest national park with heathlands, woodlands, grazing wildlife, and mountainbike paths
- 3 Gelders Arcadië — region in between the Veluwezoom and river IJssel, which is littered with historical estates and country retreats.
Gelderland started as the duchy of Guelders (Hertogdom Gelre), based in Zutphen but named after Geldern, Germany, which was contained within its borders. Zutphen County, Veluwe County and Nijmegen County, the parts of Guelders located in what nowadays is the Netherlands, made up the Guelders that signed the Union of Utrecht that declared the Dutch provinces independent of Spain in 1579, thus starting the Dutch Republic which would eventually become the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Gelderland is now a popular destination for two reasons. One is the Stadsregio of Arnhem and Nijmegen, two of Netherland's oldest cities with ample heritage spanning centuries. The other is Veluwe, the sparsely-populated region best known for its "natural" qualities and a popular destination for Dutch tourists making day trips, featuring woodland, heathland, sand dunes, wildlife and two national parks. The highest point in Veluwe is about 110 m, a noteworthy elevation for such a flat country.
Gelderland is partially in the so-called Bible Belt of the Netherlands and may tend to be a bit more religious and conservative than the rest of the country. This applies mostly to the most west parts of the province. The general span can be seen on the map of SGP (Religious party) voters in 2003
Dutch is the basic language and is understood by virtually all. Away from the cities, you might find people speaking several Dutch dialects, those being the Low Franconian Zuid-Gelders (South Gueldric) around the Rhine and Waal rivers, and the Low Saxon Achterhoeks and Veluws in their namesake regions. Like the rest of the Netherlands, English proficiency is high, and German is generally well-understood.
From the Randstad (Western Netherlands), use either the A2 highway (from Amsterdam) or the A12 (from The Hague) to get to Utrecht. From here, you have several options:
- A2, southbound: Heading for 's-Hertogenbosch, the A2 connects to the western end of the Betuwe. From here, the A15 connects further east with the A50, which connects to Nijmegen (A50 southbound → A73) and Arnhem (A50 northbound → A12 eastbound).
- A12, eastbound: Running through the Utrecht Hill Ridge and the southern half of the Veluwe, this route connects you to Ede, Wageningen and Arnhem, after which the highway continues to connect to the A18 (towards Doetinchem), after which the A12 becomes the Autobahn A3, headed for the Ruhr Valley.
- A28, eastbound: Before reaching Gelderland, the A28 intersects with the A1 from Amsterdam at Hoevelaken. From this interchange, the A1 continues through the middle of the Veluwe towards Apeldoorn, after which it continues towards Enschede. The A28 heads towards Zwolle via the former Zuiderzee coast, connecting to Harderwijk and Elburg. If your starting point is Amsterdam, it's recommended to use the A1 to get to Hoevelaken instead of travelling via Utrecht.
Coming from Germany, Arnhem and Apeldoorn are the main hubs. The first is reached via Autobahn 3 coming out of the Ruhr Valley, which becomes the A12 once in the Netherlands. Apeldoorn is reached via Autobahn 30 from Osnabrück, which becomes the A1 in the Netherlands. The A50 connects the two cities.
Coming from the south, the A2 travels into the western end of the Betuwe when heading for Utrecht. The A50, however, connects from Eindhoven to Nijmegen, Arnhem and Apeldoorn. Similarly, from the north the A28 connects Zwolle to Utrecht via Hardenberg while the aforementioned A50 connects Apeldoorn, Arnhem and Nijmegen in the direction of Eindhoven.
- See also: Rail travel in the Netherlands
International trains are somewhat limited. From Berlin, an (admittedly slow) intercity train connects to Apeldoorn, although this stop is possibly skipped in future, in which case either Deventer or Amersfoort will likely still be stopped at. From these cities, domestic intercities can connect to most every city in the Netherlands. The other international service is an Intercity Express (ICE) from Amsterdam to Frankfurt am Main, as well as a complementary once-per-day ICE to Basel is in operation. An international stopping train (RE19) connects Arnhem with Düsseldorf and its airport as well, though the aforementioned ICE service also stops in Düsseldorf's main train station, and would therefore make for a faster journey.
In addition, international night trains connect Arnhem to München, Vienna and Innsbruck.
- The Veluwe, the largest area of relatively unspoilt nature in the country.
- The Kröller-Müller Museum, which has many paintings by Vincent van Gogh on display as well as some Mondrians.
- Palace "Het Loo" near Apeldoorn, where William and Mary used to live.
- Beautiful old castles near Vorden, Ruurlo and 's-Heerenberg, Staverden, Vaassen.
- Cycling and hiking — Both Rivierenland and the Achterhoek are popular regions for cycling. Routes in Rivierenland 'flow' along the many rivers and streams that meander through the flat clay, while the Achterhoek offers more variety in landscape while also being very accessible when it comes to elevation differences. For said elevation, the Veluwe is a go-to. The Veluwe, however, is more popular as a hiking and walking destination, though cycling definitely also has its place.
- Events — Gelderland is home to some of the extremities when it comes to events, for example:
- Appelpop in Tiel, being the largest free-to-enter music festival of the Netherlands.
- The Zwarte Cross (Oost Gelre) is a four-day open air cultural and musical event held on the Netherlands' largest event terrain.
- Of course, not everything has to be an extremity. Some of the other, less 'extreme' events include:
- Nijmeegse Vierdaagse and the accompanying Vierdaagsefeesten, a four-day long-distance walking event (Vierdaagse) and the many festivities around them (Vierdaagsefeesten).
- Mañana Mañana (Hummelo), a festival for those that enjoy life, with plenty of opportunities to dance and drink.
- The Fashion Design Festival, centred around fashion, design and culture, which transform Arnhem with many fashion shows, expositions and plays.
- Historical events are plenty, with remembrances and festivals around the liberation of the Netherlands (early May), the Hansefeesten in Doesburg transform the city back into the late mediaeval period, the Dickens Festijn in Tiel transforms the small historical city into an 19th-century English city, and Groenlo rather infamously reenacts the 1647 battle over the city that took place during the Dutch Revolt every other year.
- Parades are also plenty. Mostly held during the warmer months of the year, Lichtenvoorde has a large flower parade every September that can call itself one of the largest parades of the world. The Fruitcorso in Tiel is centred around the fruit industry of the region and has been a staple of the region in its own right for over 60 years. Furthermore, Groesbeek has a three-day wine feast.
Local dishes are rather varied. For sweet dishes, consider a Nijmegenaartje, Arnhems meisje or Arnhems grofje. When it comes to savoury food, restaurants in the Achterhoek and Veluwe often have game and venison dishes on their menus.
Local dishes, however, are most often dishes found outside of the province as well, which are made local with the locally produced ingredients that they contain. For example, alongside the southern half of the river IJssel and parts of the Achterhoek, it isn't uncommon to be served a dish with Doesburger mustard to the side.
Possibly the best-known Geldric beer brand is Grolsch, named for Groenlo where the brewery was originally located. These days, the company has expanded quite notably, having moved to Enschede in Overijssel, where its brewery can be toured. Nonetheless, there are definitely still beers from Gelderland, though they are smaller brands, often locally brewed. Some of the bigger breweries in the region are the Stadsbrouwerijen (city breweries) in Zevenaar and Wageningen.
Vineyards are mostly found in the Achterhoek, but also around Nijmegen and in the Betuwe. Nijmegen specifically is home to the Nijmegin, the Netherlands' only gin and tonic with honey as its base ingredient.
Many local drinks are often found in a fair amount of restaurants and bars, but can also be found in smaller regional shops which offer "streekproducten" (regional products). Regional alcoholic beverages are also commonly found in "proeflokalen" (tasting bars).
From Arnhem, the German city of Cologne can be reached by high speed train in about 90 minutes.
|Routes through Gelderland|
|Amsterdam ← Utrecht ← Amersfoort ← Barneveld ←||W E||→ Apeldoorn → Deventer → Enschede|
|The Hague ← Gouda ← Utrecht ← Ede ←||W E||→ Arnhem → Becomes Autobahn 3 → Duisburg(D) → Frankfurt am Main(D)|
|Rotterdam ← Dordrecht ←||W E||→ Tiel → Nijmegen|
|Arnhem via A12 ←||W E||→ Doetinchem → Becomes N18 → Enschede|
|Zwolle ← Apeldoorn ← Arnhem ←||N S||→ Nijmegen → Eindhoven|
|Nijmegen ←||N S||→ Venlo → merges with A2 → Maastricht|