Monday, after a leisurely morning, Frank and Evi drove us to pickup our rental car in Wuppertal. It’s known for its 1901 suspension railway that still runs today. After settling into the workings of our Peugeot, Frank and Evi left us and we began our 2 hour drive north along the Netherlands/Germany border to Otterlo, a small town outside of Arnhem, Netherlands. We were here to experience the Netherlands Open Air Folk Museum, otherwise known as Openluchtmuseum. Since we were in the area, we will also see the Kröller-Müller Museum on the grounds of the Hogue Veluwe National Park (Netherlands largest national park).
We are staying just a 20-minute drive from the museum at the Grand Café Hotel Kruller. I visited the open air museum 13 years ago on a Rick Steves tour and we had 2 hours to see whatever we could see. I saw a number of different types of windmills represented and a small village. His travel books outline a 2-hour quick tour but you are doing yourself no favors. I figured this time Dennis and I would be here maybe 4 hours, but when it closed at 5 pm, we were heading out the gates with everyone else. After spending 6.5 hours with a half hour poffertjes (mini, puff pancakes)/coffee break we still did not see the whole thing, and we didn’t want to leave. It was a wonderful, day.
This museum houses the second largest collection of Van Gogh’s in the world with approximately fifty showing at any one time out of their 87 paintings. They also have a collection of 180 of his drawings. The museum houses many top works by modern artists including Monet, Seurat, and Picasso to name a few. The low-keyed museum sits within a lovely wooded site in the Hogue Veluwe National Park. The outdoor garden shows over 100 sculptures as you walk the trails of the 60 acres surrounding the museum. We enjoyed the natural lighting of the exhibits, and put a wrap on all things Van Gogh.
The Hogue Veluwe Park (over 13,000 acres)
One of three park entrances is located .5 miles from Otterlo, where we were staying. Driving into and out of the park in a different direction, we were able to see a bit of the diversity of the park. We saw heavily wooded areas as well as inland sand dunes, lakes, peat bogs, and heathland. They have 1800 white bikes anyone can get on for free within the park. We didn’t have a chance to do that so on our next visit, we will check out other areas of the park on our white bikes.
I’m finding it is much easier communicating than it was when I was last here 13 years ago as many people now speak English and the Dutch are somewhat getting used to the Englishers. We definitely will be back to the eastern area and would love to once again stay in lovely Otterlo. The hotel and dining room were wonderful and we would like to get to know the area a bit better.
Thanks for joining us on our journey,