Watch out! This experience is only meant for those adventurists who truly want to leave all other tourists behind and go out on their own to explore remote areas and enjoy tranquility. We promise you Dutch panoramas characterized by immense nothingness, sporadic small villages, picturesque churches and a number of typical windmills.
Note: don’t – we repeat DON’T – venture out on a clear day with blue skies. This hike is definitely best accomplished when weather is a little stormy and chances of rain are reasonable! It’ll enhance your experience of the most northern province of the Netherlands, Groningen. Plus, when weather is so so you will have even more of the nothingness to yourself. Luckily, there are enough days in a Dutch year with intermittent clouds and threat of precipitation.
The hike is part of the route leading to the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. It passes through the endless flat fields – interrupted by churches on mounds of several metres high – of the region called Hoogeland – ironically enough meaning ‘high land‘. Yes, you will soon discover everything is relative in the Netherlands 🙂 The name refers to the relative high altitude of the land as a result of sediment deposited by the sea. The clay seems to always stick on your shoes in these surroundings.
The people of “Grunn” can be called modest and hard working. Yet they understand the attractiveness of their empty landscape. Visitors will be treated and constantly surrounded with impressive skyscapes. Thus, clouds needed! Blue skies are boring. And what could be better for outdoor lovers than wind blowing through your hair and infinite views?
Given this is a pilgrims route, you will pass some notable churches. For example, the tiny church of Eenum, that was built in 1170. If the door is locked, definitely pick up a key at house nr. 7. The church of Zeerijp is quite remarkable, just go and see for yourself. Don’t forget to pay a visit to windmill ‘The Lion‘. Just at the edge of Uithuizen lies Menkemaborg, a mansion surrounded by gardens and moats. More or less halfway, you can have a rest and a drink at farm De Diek’n. Begin or end your hike at the charming town centre of Loppersum, with its redbrick church and windmill ‘Storm bird’. This town has in recent years received international publicity for other reasons though.
- Costs: FREE
- Address: railway station Uithuizen (53.409733, 6.674876) or railway station Loppersum (53.334898, 6.747273). Farm cafe De Diek’n, Dijkumerweg 2, Zeerijp (53.362785, 6.745488).
- More info: the route can be hiked in both directions, it starts and ends at a railway station. The route is for a large part indicated by a blue sticker with a yellow scallop, the mark of the pilgrimage. For the exact route please refer to the Wikiloc page below. Farm De Diek’n also offers sleeping arrangements; there is a B&B, group accommodation and a camp site.
- Bring: a raincoat and water.
- Wikiloc: track Hiking an empty landscape of mound villages and old churches