13 Best things to do in Fernendal (Netherlands)

Veenendaal is a medium-sized city in the province of Utrecht, starting from humble beginnings as a peat-cutting colony founded by Antwerp merchant Gilbert van Schoonbeke in the 16th century.

After the peat industry was nearly destroyed by floods in 1855, Wienendaal turned to cigar-making and the wool industry for a living.

Wijnendal grew rapidly in the last decades of the 20th century with the construction of new urban areas and can therefore be said to be a young city, both because it is mostly modern and because a third of the population is 25 years old the following. The city has all the big brands for shoppers, and Veenendaal has garnered plenty of accolades for its ample green spaces and great cycling facilities.

1. Maxx


Opened in December 2016, Maxx is a huge indoor facility with exciting activities for all ages.

The center was a huge success and was named the Family Entertainment Center (FEC) in 2017. Maxx offers laser tag, go-kart track, indoor “Glowgolf” mini golf, escape room, amazing trampoline park, swimming pool and air hockey table and dartboard.

There is also a bar/restaurant serving burgers, ribs, salads, pasta, chicken satay and more.

You can easily spend hours trying all the Maxx available without seeing the light of day.

2. Grebbelinie Bezoekerscentrum

Grebbelinie Bezoekerscentrum

Veenendaal is located on the Grebbe line, a series of forts, sluices and flooded plains that use water as a defensive barrier between the southern Rhenen and IJsselmeer (formerly Zuiderzee). It has been laid since the mid-18th century and is the front line of the New Holland waterline, which runs roughly from north to south through Utrecht.

The Grebbe line is 30 kilometers to the east, and to learn more about the great effort that went into defending the Netherlands during the 17th and 20th centuries, there is a visitor center on the northern edge of Veenendaal.

This explains the intricacies of the Graber Line, including timelines, artifacts, reconstructed trenches and numerous information panels.

You can watch a film that delves into the history of the line and see firsthand how floodwaters made the landscape impenetrable through the interactive map.

3. Amerungen Castle

Amelungen Castle

One of the loveliest homes in the Netherlands is just 10 km from Fernendal and is worth every second of your visit.

Near the Rhine, Amerungen Castle dates back to 1286. Today’s Baroque house was built in 1680 after the previous building was burned down by French troops during the Franco-Dutch War.

This palatial mansion has been enriched by generations of occupants, leaving behind a collection of paintings, china, furniture and musical instruments.

One of the most prominent Dutch architects, Pierre Cuypers was involved in interior design at the turn of the 20th century.

It was here on November 28, 1919, that Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany officially abdicated during his exile.

One of the many treasures inside is the library, with lavish 17th-century cabinets designed by cabinet specialist Jan van Mekeren.

4. Wienendal Museum

Wienendal Museum

Maintained by a team of 80 volunteers, Musuem Veenendaal is a place to get in touch with the city’s history.

The permanent collection covers themes including the many conflicts the city faced due to its location in the Gelders valley between Gelderland and Utrecht.

There are artifacts related to local peat mining, World War II, and the rise of the wool and cigar industry in Wienendal in the 19th century.

You can also learn about disasters you may not have known; the 1855 floods devastated the countryside of the Guerders Valley, claiming 13 lives.

In early 2019, an exhibition was held to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Antwerp entrepreneur Gilbert van Schoonbeke, who founded Veenendaal as a peat-cutting colony in the 16th century.

5. Old Kirk

old kirk

The whitewashed Oude Kerk is a beautiful sight in the Veenendaal market and is one of only a few historic buildings in Veenendaal.

It was originally built in the mid-16th century, but expanded in 1753, 1835 and 1906. The late Gothic choir is the oldest part of the building and has stone vaults compared to the wooden beams of the rest of the building.

Some of the accessories worth admiring inside include a beautifully carved wooden pulpit, a silver baptistery and an old collection bag hanging on the wall.

6. De Nieuwe Molen

New Mollen

This towering tower mill near the centre of Veendaal was completed in 1911 and replaced a vertical mill on the site, also known as the New Mill, built in 1623. The mill is in working condition and has been restored five times since 1954, the last one in 2010. The interesting thing about De Nieuwe Molen is that it was assembled using parts from an even older waterworks in North Holland.

Today, volunteer millers grind grain here for a variety of purposes, and Ten Wayne Bakery in nearby Bennekom sources organic flour from here.

You can stop on Saturdays to buy your own flour or special baking mixes from the store (open from 10:00 to 13:00), while you can watch the miller in action from 10:00 to 16:00.

7. Landgoed Prattenburg

Landlord Plattenburg

This historic estate in the southwest of Veenendaal has belonged to the Van Asch van Wijck family since 1694. The current eclectic house was completed in 1890 on the original site built in the late 16th century.

While the estate’s mansion is private, hundreds of hectares of parkland are for you to explore.

From sunrise to sunset, you can tour the heath and forest, and stroll along the palatial avenues planted hundreds of years ago.

During the late summer season, walkers are usually allowed to pick blueberries growing on forest trails.

8. Hof Street


The traffic-free hub of Veenendaal is a regional shopping destination with over 300 independent stores, which is a lot for a smaller town.

A large part of it is distributed between the two covered shopping centres Corridor and Scheepjeshof.

Starting next to the Scheepjeshof and continuing down the corridor near the market is the main shopping artery, the Hoofdstraat.

Along this smart pedestrian street there are many Dutch and international retailers such as HEMA, Zara and Esprit, as well as many locally owned shops, and there is no shortage of places to stop for a meal or a coffee.

9. Quint Loyen

Quint Loyen

Halfway from Veenendaal to the city of Rhenen, there is a nature reserve of 74 hectares in unusual hilly terrain.

Kwintelooyen was a sand quarry in the 1970s and since 1989 nature has been allowed to return.

If you are interested in botany, this is a worthwhile visit, especially in spring and summer.

This is because the diversity of elevation and moisture in the soil creates a range of habitats, lowland marshes and more distant marshes.

About 300 different plant species have been discovered in Kwintelooyen, most importantly southern swamp orchids, coral necklaces and centaurs.

During these excavations, the remains of prehistoric animals such as giant deer, mammoths and three rhinoceros were found here, adding to the world’s understanding of the Ice Age.

Now, the large herbivores roaming the wilderness are the highland cattle, which helps preserve the diversity of plant life.

10. Zwembad de Vallei

Zvenbad Valle

Veenendaal’s main public swimming pool is a great facility if you want to spend a family day at a reasonable price.

Opened in 2007, Zwembad de Vallei has four swimming pools.

There is a family pool where youngsters can indulge, while those out for serious sports can take a dip in the 25m competition pool.

But the reason you need to keep this center in mind in summer is that the fantastic outdoor pool is open from May to September.

There are sun loungers, beach volleyball court, mini golf, bouncy castle and beach soccer field by the pool.

11. Glen Glens

Glen Glens

To the east of the city of Veenendaal bordering Ede, there is a large area of ​​green countryside that is deliberately undeveloped.

The Groene Grens (green border) is located within the area known as the Binnenveld, which lies between several towns at the lower end of the Gelderse Vallei to allow for natural pastures and bird life.

Groene Grens’ walking trails criss-cross through peat bogs, damp woodlands, ponds and damp grasslands dappled with summer wildflowers.

There is a boardwalk across the swampy area, and you might see people paddling their canoes or sitting by the pond with fishing lines.

12. Ouwehands Dierenpark

Ouwehands Dierenpark

A 15-minute drive from Veenendaal is the zoo in Rhenen, which opened in 1932. Over time, the zoo has doubled in size to 22 hectares and is home to dozens of species, from African lions to western lowland gorillas and toucans.

Ouwehands Zoo made news in 2017 when it opened Pandasia after receiving a pair of giant pandas from China.

Children will be thrilled at Umkosi Wildlife Park, where they can cross the rope bridge to the treehouse and observe African lions, zebras, warthogs, meerkats and lynx.

The zoo has a schedule of shows and demonstrations to keep an eye on, such as watching California sea lions play, or feeding pandas and Humboldt penguins.

13. Cycling

ride a bicycle

In a car-free center, the smartest way to get around quickly is by bike.

Veenendaal has won many admirers for his dedication to this mode of transport, winning the Fietsstad (Bike City) award in 2000 for its cycling environment.

While you can zip around the city center with ease, you can also break into the countryside along the paved trails.

Almost everything on the list can be reached by bike, and if you have a day or two to spare, you can take a 72km loop ride through the Gerdes valley to the wonderful castle of Amerongen.

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Feynendal, The Netherlands
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