Hilly hiking on the Holterberg: from Nijverdal to Holten

The Holterberg is quite a mountain, in Dutch perspective. With its almost 60 meters of altitude it offers wide views of the surrounding countryside. Add to that pine forests and blooming moors, and you know that this is the perfect area for a refreshing hike. So are you in for an adventure? Go hiking on the Holterberg.

Travel advice during the COVID-19 or corona virus outbreak
At this moment the Netherlands is in an almost  complete lock down. Museums, restaurants, bars, everything is closed. Postpone your visit to a later date. I will keep you posted!

Holterberg literally means “mountain of Holten”. Holten is a peaceful village of just under 10.000 inhabitants in the province of Overijssel. You may call the elevation north of Holten a hill and laugh at us, but to Dutch people this is a mountain. Not nearly as high as the nation’s highest peak in Vaals, Limburg, but still, higher than the surrounding countryside and offering wonderful views. Being used to flat countryside the Holterberg is an attractive place to go hiking or biking for the Dutch.

Moors at Holterberg

Downloading the trail for the hike from Nijverdal to Holten

My boyfriend and I went hiking from Hellendoorn across the Holterberg to Holten. This stretch is part of the Pieterpad, a long distance hike world famous in Holland. But Hellendoorn is not that easy to reach by public transport. Therefore I would advice you to hike the trail from Nijverdal to Holten instead. This is practically the same trail, but it’s easier to reach the starting point: the railway station of Nijverdal.

Nijverdal: the starting point for hiking on the Holterberg

Your starting point for this hike across Holterberg is Nijverdal. Nijverdal is a relatively new village, founded in the 19th century as a base for the then booming textile industry. Due to its location close to National Park Sallandse Heuvelrug it is now a bit of a tourist town. It is not that attractive, just conveniently located. At Grotestraat (the main street) you’ll find a couple of café’s and restaurants to grab a coffee before you go hiking on the Holterberg.

Visitor’s center for Sallandse Heuvelrug National Park

Sallandse Heuvelrug National Park

After leaving the village of Nijverdal you’ll soon enter the forests. Sandy paths and pine trees, a lovely entry to the park, which you can enter free of charge. Pretty soon you’ll pass by the visitor’s center for Sallandse Heuvelrug National Park. The Holterberg is part of this National Park. In case you’re interested in learning a bit more about the area, visit the center. Otherwise, keep on going!

There is one thing you need to know, and that is that this park is one of the 2 areas in the Netherlands that is home to the black grouse. If you are very lucky you may spot one or two. Unfortunately I wasn’t… Keep your eyes open!

Hiking towards the Holterberg

National Park Sallandse Heuvelrug

Through forests and across moors you’ll approach the Holterberg. Like all forests in the Netherlands, this forest was planted. As the Holterberg area is elevated land, it was a popular area for agriculture and keeping dry feet in a wet country. People demolished the original forest a long time ago. Replanting started by the end of the 19th century.

What I like about this hike is that the trail passes trough forests as well as across open fields of moor. At the end of August and beginning of September the moors bloom and all will be purple. It is lovely.

Moors of Holterberg

Though we hiked in August, the weather was a bit changeable. We saw some threatening skies coming towards us. Still, no rain. Lucky us!

Dramatic skies at National Park Sallandse Heuvelrug

At the highest point there is a viewpoint to enjoy the surroundings. Depending on the weather you may be able to see as far as Hengelo and Deventer.

Canadian cemetery

After having passed the highest point the trail almost passes by the Canadian cemetery. This is a piece of Canadian territory where almost 1400 soldiers are buried. They died during the liberation of the Netherlands after World War II. It is quite an impressive place, with its own information center. Check their website for details. You’ll have to take a small detour from the trail to get there, but if you’re interested it’s worth it.

To Holten railway station

From the highest point, or from the Canadian cemetery the Nijverdal-Holten hike passes through more forest towards the final destination: Holten railway station. Though a bit more scenic than Nijverdal, there is not that much to see in Holten either. But it has café’s and restaurants for the hungry hiker and sometimes that is enough.

If you’re in for some more urban pleasures after this hike, take the train from Holten to Deventer. Only 15 minutes by train and you’re back in town. Of course you could also hang on in Holten and hike on along Pieterpad towards Laren the next day.

National Park Sallandse Heuvelrug

How to get to Nijverdal and Holten by public transport?

To get to Nijverdal you’ll have to catch a local train from either Zwolle or Almelo. Remember that when traveling with an OV-chipcard you’ll have to check out of the national railway network and check in with the regional company. If you have a single ticket you don’t have to do that. Returning from Holten you need to catch a local train to Deventer.

Should you want to start your hike in Hellendoorn anyway, you’ll need to catch a (tiny) bus from Nijverdal station to Hellendoorn.

Check your schedule on the public transport website 9292.nl and read my tips about using public transport in Holland. Mind that there are extra rules for users of public transport during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example: you have to wear a face mask when using public transport.

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