Assen, the capital of Drenthe province, can be a choice for a weekend escape in the search of the oldest monuments in The Netherlands – the hunebeds, tombstones weighting from 2000 to 20000 kilograms, built over 5000 years ago.
Not far from Amsterdam, Assen can be reached in around 2 hours by train. Check this article on how to travel with public transport in The Netherlands. The train trip will take you through the newest province, Flevoland, through the middle of the wildest park in the country, where animals are free to do whatever they want and they don’t receive food from the municipality. There’s no trip through the park without spotting deer or wild horses.
From the main train station of Assen is a short walk until the old city center, nicely surrounded by old buildings. And if Bruxelles has it’s boy, Drenthe has it’s boy as well – Bartjes, which you’ll see in many statues around the province. He was a character in the book of a known Dutch writer, Anne de Vries.
If you manage to visit Assen during weekend, be prepared to see the locals doing their groceries at the Saturday market, in the big square. It is one of the best days to visit any city in the country, as it is the perfect moment to get to know the locals and their food/ shopping habits. Theirs dogs too, as in Assen I’ve seen the most dogs at the market. And don’t forget to try a fresh bapao at the Indonesian/ Chinese food truck, it’s delicious!
The city itself is small, a few hours and you will get to visit the main attractions: the Drents museum and the shopping mall. If you are a fan of car or motorcycle circuit you can check the schedule of TT circuit, which is holding this kind of races. The Drents museum is a conglomerate of artworks, history and dolls – it contains the largest dollhouse in the country. At this moment an exhibition about Iran is held, until 18.11.2018, which shouldn’t be missed.
Drenthe is also known for the province with the best bicycle paths. And if there are bicycle paths, there are walking ones too and, for sure, a lot of nature. At the tourist info you can get some maps with the trails in the area or, if you are in search of something light, you can try the trail marked by NS, which will show you a bit of everything from the province. The description of the route is here, but in Dutch. If you follow the sign with “NS wandeling” (shown in the pictures below), you will be safe and on the correct track.
The trail will make a round trip from Assen to Rolde, taking you through the Drentse AA national park. What is surprising about the park is that you will find many forms of land in it, from sand dunes to swamp, from old woods to flat green landscape, even in the winter time. The trail will also take you to 2 hunebeds monuments (from the 52 existing in the province) and through a few small villages, where beautiful houses are lined up at the paved road.
These are only a few ideas of what you can do in Assen. Drenthe itself has many more to offer, of which you can read on their official info site – here. Hope you will visit it and, if yes, tell us how you find it! Enjoy!