Bourtange, Holland

1342.JPGNearly the last trip in our previous van was our wonderful adventure into and across southern Scandinavia, whilst returning we decided to spend a few days checking out eastern Holland for possible future trips.

As it transpired we were so impressed with what we found we stayed for over a week to enjoy the superb walking and cycling this part of Holland had to offer.


After entering Holland from Bremen in Germany on the A1 and then minor roads we located the charming camp-site, Camping Plathuis, on the edge of the quite unique old village of Bourtange. bourtange-1-1.jpg The village, parts of which can be traced to the sixteenth century was renovated and added to in 2001 to reflect as it was in 1742. It is like nothing we have ever encountered before. Picture a small cobbled market square with a few short streets fanning outwards. Along which are a small church, school, cottages, essential shops and tradesmen’s dwellings. All this was surrounded by a raised earthern pentagon defence and gated. Beyond this was a moat, complete with drawbridge. 120-a.jpg

Then both, defences and moat, were repeated and finally a third five sided earth defence, finished off with another drawbridge and sentry boxes. So with only two ways to cross over onto the tiny village it seemed very secure.


On our visit we had the good fortune of being there for their Summer Festival.


A dubious bonus for us was the open air Theatre showing Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”. As it was all in Dutch it made for an interesting couple of hours, as neither of us speak the language.



Whilst this was being played out various traditionally dressed locals mingled about the village and numerous stalls sold ales, wines and cooked dishes. Tasted and passed as very acceptable by us.

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This being the home of cycling the roadside, field and woodland bike tracks were all first class. Even those in the woods were normally tarmac. When ever there was a crossing of tracks or paths there would be what we called Toadstools to state where you were, direction and distance to the next place. And as you can imagine most tracks were fairly flat. While on one of these local rides we encountered a horse-drawn covered wagon which seemed quite popular for a different type of holiday. Some of the campsites have paddock like areas just for overnighting them.


This particular cycle ride took us to the lovely village of Sellingen, sometimes near roads but mostly across fields or alongside the canal, always on good trails. The small Tourist Office here was in the grounds of a small reseve and contains a caf’e with peaceful seating in the gardens.


Call at the right time of year, as we did, and you will be entertained by the resident family of Wrens being fed.


Back at our base-camp we chilled out and decided we would certainly return to explore this part of the Netherlands further. Only this time we shall be travelling in “Minty”.

To find out more of this unusual village click on

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