Holland goes on holiday over July and August. People pack their caravans, book their last minute flights and head for sun and sea. Leaving the rest of us wondering where the party is and why we weren’t invited.
But staying in Wageningen over summer isn’t half bad. The roads are quiet, the service at restaurants is better and the sun shines until ten at night. Here’s a list of some lekker things to do with your hot summer days:
- Grab a frisbee or soccer ball and meet your friends for a BBQ in the park. There’s a great park adjacent to Nijenoord Allee, between Rijnsteeg and Mondriaanlaan. It’s large, green and features a soccer field, baseball court, skateboard half pipe and plenty of space to laze about and soak up the sun.
- Reflect at the Grebbeberg Military War Cemetery. To get there, cycle down Lawickse Allee towards Rhenen and up the Grebbeweg hill (yes a real hill in Holland). On the top of the hill (4.5 kilometres from the city centre) you’ll see rows and rows of white gravestones, commemorating the Dutch troops who died in WWII. A small museum (free entry) gives info on the importance of the Grebbeline during the war. You’ll find a pancake restaurant and a wok place just down the road.
- Go to the animal park in Rhenen. The Ouwehands Dierenpark is celebrating its newest member; a baby orang-utan, born 13 July. Opening times and prices are available on the website http://www.ouwehand.nl/ in English and in German. It’s also on Grebbeweg, a few metres away from the Military War Cemetery.
- Cycle the Grebbedijk to Rhenen. If the Grebbeweg hill looks too daunting, take a sharp left at its foot and cycle the shady path to Rhenen. Awesome views of the river and easy cycling.
- Chill in the Arboretum. The university’s two botanical gardens are found on Generaal Foulkesweg (the Botanische Tuin Belmonte and De Dreijen). Entry to the botanical gardens is free and opening hours are between 08:00 and 20:00. Take a blanket, dump the iPod and chill in the shade to the tune of bird song.
- Get high at Hotel de Wageningse Berg. Head towards Renkum on Generaal Foulkesweg. Go past the botanical gardens until you see Hotel de Wageningse Berg signposted on your right. Toast the beautiful views from this highest vantage point in Wageningen.
- Head for the “beach”. Pack your towel, cozzie and (liquid) lunch and head for the harbour. Pass the harbour on your right and head straight towards the river. You’ll know you’re on the right track when the brick road becomes really bumpy and a few students shoot past with six packs precariously balanced on the back of their bikes.
- Cool down at De Bongerd. For a more civilised swim, make a splash at the swimming pool De Bongerd; open weekdays from 12:00 to 17:00 and Monday to Thursday from 19:00 to 21:30. On Saturdays and Sundays, they are open between 9:00 and 16:00. De Bongerd is situated on the corner of Bornsesteeg and Nijenoord Allee.
Get out, get wet, relax and celebrate summer in Wageningen. The best place to be.