Introducing Hoge Veluwe National Park
This park, the largest in the Netherlands, would be a fantastic place to visit for its marshlands, forests and sand dunes alone, but its brilliant museum makes it unmissable.
The park was purchased in 1914 by Anton and Helene Kröller-Müller, a wealthy German-Dutch couple. He wanted hunting grounds, she wanted a museum site - they got both. It was given to the state in 1930, and in 1938 a museum opened for Helene's remarkable art collection. A visit to the park can fill an entire day, and even if you don't have a bike, you can borrow one of the park's 1700 famously free white bicycles.
The ticket booths at each of the three entrances at Hoenderloo, Otterlo and Schaarsbergen have basic information and invaluable park maps (€3). In the heart of the park, the main visitors centre is an attraction itself. It has displays on the flora and fauna, including one showing the gruesome results of when a deer has a bad day and a crow has a good day. Book guided walks here.
Roads through the park are limited. There are myriad bike paths and 42km of hiking trails, with three routes signposted. The most interesting area is the Wildbaan, south of the Kröller-Müller Museum. At the north edge, Jachthuis St Hubert is the baronial hunting lodge that Anton had built. Named after the patron saint of hunting (but not the hunted), you can tour its woodsy interior.
Cyclists in particular will be interested in the camping ground, which is located at the Hoenderloo entrance. There are 100 sites; you can't reserve but you can call and see what's available.