Mountains in the Netherlands? Is that a thing? The Netherlands is a flat country with almost one third of its entire area below sea level. Beaches, dunes, dams, canals, forest and vast, lush greens dotted with sheep – this country boasts natural beauty, but mountains? Are there any mountains in the Netherlands?
As an expat from Austria living in Amsterdam I thought I’d take on the task to do some research about the peaks of this country known for its unmistakable flatness.
Little hike, anyone?
Ok, so what did I find? The highest mountain on the mainland of the Netherlands is called Vaalserberg and it is (drumroll, please!) 322.7 metres high. Yes, you read that correctly, the highest of all mountains in the Netherlands is just three hundred metres and a little bit in size. In comparison, the Statue of Liberty in New York is about 90 metres high, which means if you stack 3.5 Statues of Liberty you get the Vaalserberg! Not to take anything away from this landmark, which unites Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands at the so-called three-country-point (Drielandenpunt). Worth a mini-hike for sure!
If you think that this was it when it comes to Dutch peaks then you are wrong. Next in line, or rather in size, is the Sint Pietersberg in Maastricht with 171 metres. Say whaaat? This Altiplano of marl served as stone-pit to excavate raw materials for the production of cement, etc.
Nevertheless, it is interesting to stroll up this mountain and have a look at the fortress on top or check out the vast network of underground tunnels in a guided tour. These tunnels stretch over a length of 80km and served as hideout spot for the citizens of Maastricht during WWII. Dutch national art treasures were also kept safe here during war.
A small mountain or just a bigger hill?
Here comes number three and it’s getting a bit harder to call these Dutch mountains “mountains”. The Duivelsberg measures 76 metres (it’s smaller than the Statue of Liberty!!) and is located to the east of Nijmegen. Small in size, this hill, however, has a rich history.
A Roman castle (Mergelp castle) was located there in the Middle Ages, and the Duivelsberg was used as a battleground during WWII, but after some dispute still remained Dutch territory. Strolling around the area and the lush forest you can also see an expressionist villa, the Huis Wylerberg, which is a protected building nowadays.
Last but not least (well, least in size, yes) we have the Grebbeberg with 53 metres. This – let’s call it – hill played an important part in the Dutch defence during WWII but did not stop the Germans in 1940 during the Battle of the Grebbeberg.
If you decide to stroll up this hill you’ll find a military field of honour on top as well as an information centre next to the cemetery. Apart from war monuments, there is a zoo to discover but you can also just simply enjoy the beautiful views of the landscape. If that’s not a motivation to “climb” this mountain in the province of Utrecht, then I don’t know what is.
Anyways, now get your lazy bones out of the chair and conquer one of the mountains in the Netherlands. If you hurry up you’ll be back before dinner!
Feature Image: Pxhere/CC/Bron: Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed