By Danielle Carter

Just a couple hours east of Amsterdam lies the green heart of the Netherlands: the Hoge Veluwe National Park. The park boasts several endangered species in the Netherlands, a diverse range of wildlife, and three different landscapes: heath and grasslands, sand drift, and forests. Due to human manipulation of the land (such as farming and the digging of canals and dykes in the Middle Ages), these landscapes in the Netherlands have changed quite drastically and several native species have become extinct or are severely threatened. The Hoge Veluwe National Park preserves Dutch terrain at its peak under human influence, which it reached around 1900.

If you want to take a peek at what the Hoge Veluwe has to offer, you can check out their livestream here.

When coming to Amsterdam, a lot of visitors are excited to take part in the (in)famous bike culture of the Netherlands; however, cycling around the city can sometimes be quite intimidating with rush hour, crowded streets, and impatient cyclists. The Hoge Veluwe National Park offers visitors a free white bike to use to cycle around the park; you can find one of these at various drop-off/pick-up stations throughout the park, including next to the Kröller-Müller Museum.

This white bike scheme is inspired by the ‘witte fietsenplan’ (white bike plan) of the 1960s counterculture Provo movement in the Netherlands. These protestors sought to release free white bikes throughout Amsterdam as a reaction to the increase of cars in Amsterdam and to the increase in capitalism and consumerism in the Netherlands. Of course, their plan didn’t quite work out in Amsterdam, but it is alive and thriving in the Hoge Veluwe.

One of the first collectors to recognise Vincent van Gogh’s talents, Helene Kröller-Müller avidly collected as many of his pieces as possible. After she donated her collection to the Netherlands in 1935, the Kröller-Müller Museum was officially opened to the public in 1938. The Kröller-Müller Museum currently has the second largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings in the world — including some of his masterpieces such as Café Terrace at Night (1888). The museum has over 90 paintings and 180 drawings by Van Gogh, providing a broader context for those who have visited his larger collection at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. During her tenure as a collector, Helene Kröller-Müller collected about 11,500 works between 1907 and 1922, making her collection one of the largest of the 20th century. Her collection includes several other greats such as Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, George Seurat, Jean DuBuffet, and Piet Mondrian.

Helen Kröller-Müller dreamed of opening a ‘museum house’ that would be open to everyone to share her beloved collection. Her husband, Anton, was a committed hunter and thoroughly enjoyed the outdoors, so the national park — which the couple purchased in the early 20th century — and the museum are the results of their combination of visions. You can also visit the couple’s house, the Jachthuis Sent Hubertus in the Hoge Veluwe. Their home was designed by the famous Dutch architect Hendrikus Petrus Berlage, who is also responsible for some of the most iconic buildings in Amsterdam such as the Beurs van Berlage as well as the planning for the beautiful neighbourhood of Amsterdam Zuid (Amsterdam South).

The current Kröller-Müller Museum embodies Helen’s dream, displaying her large collection as well as an additional sculpture garden — one of the largest in Europe, with over 160 sculptures — that fuses art and nature. The architecture of the museum intentionally includes large windows so that visitors feel at one with both nature and art during their visit.

Getting There

To reach the Kröller-Müller Museum and the Hoge Veluwe from Amsterdam, take the train from Amsterdam Centraal to Ede-Wageningen; take the 108 bus to Otterlo, Rotonde; and the 106 bus to de Hoge Veluwe, ingang Otterlo or contact us to arrange private travel by car or bus. There are other options to reach the museum and national park from Amsterdam, so please check ns.nl for directions that might be more suitable for the day or time that you plan to travel. The entire trip takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes.

The Kröller-Müller Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10.00AM to 5.00PM; the sculpture garden is open until 4.30PM. The Hoge Veluwe is open from 9.00AM to 10.00PM in July; please check their website for opening hours in different seasons. Please contact us to arrange a private excursion and museum tour.