Pinksteren in the Netherlands is the perfect time to go out and do all kinds of fun activities. During the ‘pinksterweekend’, many cool events are organized, but it is also great to plan a weekend getaway and go on an adventure in nature.
The weather is often really good around this time of the year, making it an ideal moment to go outside. Get inspired with these tips for a fun Pentecost weekend in the Netherlands!
My name is Kirsten and I am a photographer and the person behind the Dutch travel blog Where She Goes, a travel blog for everyone who loves the outdoors, camping trips and unique places to sleep in nature. I am often on the road exploring and photographing all kinds of dream spots and unique (sustainable) accommodations, such as forest cabins and treehouses. You can expect articles from me, as a Campspace columnist, with handy camping tips and articles about the coolest camping and glamping spots.
First things first. What do we celebrate during Pinksteren? Pinksteren is a Christian festival where believers commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus, the Apostles. The word ‘Pinksteren’ is derived from the Greek word pentekoste. This means fifty. Eerste Pinksterdag – Whit Sunday – is always celebrated on the fiftieth day after Paaszondag – Easter Sunday.
In 2022 Pinksteren falls on Sunday 5 and Monday 6 June. In the Netherlands Pinksteren is an official public holiday which means most people have time off work and school. If you’re one of them, have a look at these ideas for things to do in nature on your days off!
Climb in a climbing forest
The Netherlands has a couple of really cool climbing forests where you can climb and clamber from tree to tree via zip lines, suspension bridges or nets. There often are several exciting trails to choose from. An adventurous excursion for children, but also a challenge for adults. Are you ready to go? Keep in mind that you may need to book your tickets in advance before visiting a climbing forest.
Enjoy an adventure trail of a barefoot path
Is a climbing forest a little bit too much of a challenge for your taste? Or do you prefer to keep both feet on the ground? A visit to one of the adventure trails or play forests in the Netherlands is a perfect outing during Pinksteren. The ‘Belevingspad Hoogersmilde’ (free entrance) is a good example of such an adventure trail. You can walk a 2,5km route through the National Park Drents-Friese Wold. Children can enjoy themselves during the route with climbing, clambering and pumping up water.
Another special adventure is walking a barefoot path. The name says it all: you walk barefoot through the grass, through water and through mud. In the province of Groningen, there is a very beautiful barefoor path: Blote Voetenpad Opende (free entrance). There is a short 1,6 km route that is also suitable for the little ones and there is a longer 3,4 km route. Along the way you will encounter tree trunks to climb over, narrow bridges over the water and a beautiful wildflower garden. The path leads you through a beautiful part of the province of Groningen. After your walk you can of course enjoy a cup of tea with some apple pie at Theetuin Blotevoetenhof. And yes, this barefoot path is also an adventure to follow without children. I like to walk here every year and enjoy it time after time.
Visit an open-air museum
The Netherlands may be small, but it does have quite a lot of open-air museums (openluchtmuseum in Dutch). What I really like about open-air museums is that you are outdoors and learn interesting things at the same time. As a child I visited the Openluchtmuseum Ellert & Brammert in Schoonoord (in the province of Drenthe) lots of times. According to the legend, Ellert & Brammert are two giants who lived in a den of thieves and who survived by robbing people. In the open-air museum you get an idea what it was like to live in Drenthe a few hundred years ago. From typical huts to schools and from a prison to the robber’s den.
Another interesting open-air museum is the Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen (in the province of Noord-Holland). I remember that as kids we were allowed to try traditional costumes and to play with old Dutch toys, such as stilts. In this museum, the fishing culture and the stories of the people living near the former Zuiderzee are brought to life.
The Africa Museum in Berg & Dal (in the province of Gelderland) is also a very fascinating excursion during Pinksteren. This open-air museum is dedicated to African arts and cultures. Residential areas and stilt houses from various African countries have been recreated. You will be introduced to the traditional architecture of Ghana, Lesotho, Mali, Cameroon and Benin.
Be aware that it is wise to book tickets for (open air) museums in advance.
Take a hike and spot wildlife
It’s lush and green everywhere around you. It’s time for a nice hike! For example on the Kootwijkerzand, a sand drift that is also called ‘het woeste hart van de Veluwe’ (the wild heart of the Veluwe), an area in the province of Gelderland. The photogenic watchtower called Zandloper (Hourglass) gives you a great view over the Kootwijkerzand. Don’t forget to visit the former broadcasting station Radio Kootwijk if you’re in the area.
Did you know that the big five can’t only be found in Africa? The Veluwe also has a big five: the mouflon, the red deer, the wild boar, the roe deer and the fallow deer. Would you like to spot wildlife on the Veluwe? Then I would recommend to drive to a wild observation point at dusk or at dawn. Staatsbosbeheer has placed various wildlife screens on the Veluwe. The cance of spotting wildlife at these screens is very high. You can visit these wildlife screens on your own, but there are also some wildlife points that can only be visited with a guide from Staatsbosbeheer.
Slightly less wild, but still very nice, is a visit to the sheeps and lambs of the Veluwe, such as the sheep herd of Hoog Buurlo. At this time of the year, the shepherd takes flock to the heath daily. It is beautiful to see the shepherd working together with his or her dog(s) to keep the sheeps together.
Explore castles and cycle along castles
Every year on Whit Monday – Tweede Pinksterdag -, it is Day of the Castle – Dag van het Kasteel. On this day, castles and estates open their doors for you. Doors that normally stay closed for public. You can find more information about the participating castles and estates on the Day of the Castle website. Some castles that I’ve always wanted to visit are Kasteel Doorwerth in Gelderland, Kasteel Hoensbroek in Limburg and Slot Zuylen in Utrecht. The Kasteeltuinen Arcen in Limburg must also be beautiful at this time of year. Many of the participating castles organise all kinds of activities on Day of the Castle, such as treasure hunts, knight’s tournaments and medieval markets.
But during Pinksteren it’s also very nice to hop on your bike. The Achtkastelenroute (the Eight Castles Route) in the Achterhoek is the perfect cycling route for the Day of the Castle. A cycling route that has existed since 1913 and that leads you along all kinds of castles for 34 kilometers. Most castles along this route are inhabited by private persons, and only Vorden Castle and the gardens of Huis de Viersse are (limited) opened for visitors.
Visit the most beautiful places by canoe or SUP
Do you prefer to be out on the water? How about a canoe or SUP trip through the Netherlands? If you don’t have your own canoe or SUP, you can rent one at countless places nowadays. A wonder place for canoeing and supping is the Kromme Rijn, a river in the province of Utrecht. The Kromme Rijn is almost 30 km long and winds from the center of Utrecht to Wijk bij Duurstede. While canoeing or supping you pass forests, farms, meadows, castles and estates. Of course, you don’t have to canoe or sup the whole 30 km’s. You can find a beautiful part of the Kromme Rijn near Amelisweerd. On the banks of the Kromme Rijn you will find various docking places where you can find a nice picnic spot. You can also dock at the Veldkeuken near Amelisweerd, a restaurant with a beautiful terrace and bakery.
Another great spot for supping and canoeing is in Elfstedenstad Dokkum. This city in the province of Friesland is a former trading city with lots of history. The old town centre is not very big, but it does have 140 (!) national monuments. In Dokkum you sup or canoe through the most beautiful canals, past historic buildings and under idyllic white bridges. Don’t forget to dock your sup or canoe to enjoy something delicious on one of the nice terraces of Dokkum.
Go camping during Pinksteren
And what could be more fun than camping during Pinksteren? Nature is in full bloom. It’s a perfect weekend to go camping with your tent, carvan or van. During Pinksteren you can of course visit one of our campspaces. Whether you like to camp out on a campspace in the middle of nature, at a campspace where you can light a fire, where you can bring your dog or where you’re welcome with the whole family: it’s all possible. The choice is yours!
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