Did you know there were mountains in the Netherlands?

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.

Ariel-photo-of-Netherlands-flat-landscape
A country known for its flatness. Image: Rudy and Peter Skitterians/Pixabay

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 over three hundred metres in size.

READ MORE | Why is the Netherlands so flat? The complete explainer

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). It’s worth a mini-hike for sure!

You’ve peaked my interest, what’s next?

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.

Photo-of-Sint-Pietersberg-mountain-in-Maastricht-the-Netherlands
171 metres to climb at the Sint Pietersberg in Maastricht. Image: Kleon3/Wikimedia Commons/CC4.0

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 big 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.

Image-of-Duivelsberg-small-mountain-in-the-Netherlands
Duivelsberg — this WWII battleground is definitely smaller than the Statue of Liberty. Image: Romaine/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain.

Last but not least (well, least in size, yes) we have the Grebbeberg which stands at 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: Kleon3/Wikimedia Commons/CC4.0
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in April 2017, and was fully updated in October 2021 for your reading pleasure.

Alexandra Huetter
Alexandra Huetter is a native Austrian with a passion for traveling. Having worked in tourism, marketing and sales she finally decided to exchange her 9-to-5 job for the unpredictable yet rewarding world of freelancing. She has been working as a freelance copywriter in Amsterdam since 2011.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. “Beaches, dunes, dams, canals, forest and vast, lush greens dotted with sheep”

    Since when did 322 MASL qualify as mountains? That’s like calling green areas with trees in the Netherlands fore… There are no forests in the Netherlands. I have been looking for those for over forty years and guess what, never found one. I can go as far as call it nature (reserve) or (national) park also woods is still a far stretch… but forests? No eff1n way.

  2. I currently live at about 1400 meters above sea level. Wonder where I will do my altitude training if I move there haha. Thank you for the information on the little hills there in Netherlands 🙂

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