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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Horsterwold and Hulkenstein Forest - Winner 2013


The woodlands of the Horsterwold are accessible for everyone. In and around Zeewolde there are plenty places to stop for a cup of coffee while charging your electrically powered bike, which can be rented in the village and are very suitable for older people.

Plenty of safe bicycle roads are also accessible for walkers and wheelchairs due to the even surface of the pathways. The Horsterberg for example, a man-made hill that offers a great view of the Silent Core and Valley, has recently been made accessible for wheelchairs.

Children can experience a special route along a prehistorical rift. There, the youngest learn how to use their senses and to experience nature playfully.

Sightseeing tips

  • Roam around in the Silent Core and the Silent Valley.
  • Experience the past in a copy of a prehistoric farm.
  • Experience route De Zevensprong.

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Veenhuizen - Winner 2011

Regeneration and revival

Following the end of its prison era, many buildings in Veenhuizen were abandoned and the local economy (which depended on the prison) collapsed, causing unemployment rates to rise.

It was decided to regenerate the local economy by promoting the history of the site and the unique character of the former prison colony.

Veenhuizen is today an unusual rural tourist destination, with a variety of cultural and natural attractions. The old buildings have been given a new purpose while preserving their unique architectural styles.

A good example of this is Maallust, a former grain mill and storage space. This has now been converted into a brewery and a cheese farm. The former drugstore along with the kitchen and the hospital is now a hotel and health centre. The sleeping quarters of the cotton factory have been converted into guest lodges for visitors.

Several art galleries and museums have also opened which showcase the unique history of the village.

Veenhuizen currently welcomes approximately 160,000 visitors each year.

Sightseeing tips:

  • Visit the Prison Museum to learn about prison life in Veenhuizen.
  • Go walking in the surrounding forests – Roden, Norg or Drent-Friese Wold – beautiful secluded spots with some rare wildlife.
  • Visit the Glass Museum and learn about the glass-making techniques and Dutch glass artists.

More information:

WaterReijk Weerribben Wieden - Giethoorn and the wetlands - Winner 2010

What makes Waterreijk Weerribben Wieden - Giethoorn & the wetlands special?

It is the natural beauty of the area that contributes to the very special character of the district.

Similarly, all the activities offered in the area have a personalised touch, to create a deeper connection between each visitor and nature.

Furthermore, since innovation and sustainability are the key drivers of tourism development in the area, all the activities embrace nature and progress and aim at finding a balance between the two.

Don't miss

  • entrepreneurs growing reed
  • the town of Giethoorn, often referred to as ‘Green Venice’ thanks to its canals, with its high bridges and thatched farmhouses.

More information:

Park Gravenrode - Winner 2009

What makes Park Gravenrode special?

When local Dutch authorities came together with a plan to revive the region, they knew it was going to be a lot of work. Years of neglect and pollution had left the area in ruins, but their perseverance has made this park truly extraordinary.

In the mid-eighties, the deteriorated Erenstein Castle was completely renovated into a magnificent restaurant. A farmhouse nearby was turned into a classic hotel. Then the park's natural environment was adressed. After tireless efforts, the park now is as lush, colourful and vibrant as ever.

Park Gravenode is a model example on how man has the ability to turn back the hands of time for a region to when it was splendid and pure.

What makes Park Gravenrode sustainable?

Before efforts were made to restore the park, the region was a mining area, and historical farm houses, castles and building were left to crumble.

Locals, not wanting to return to this, are well aware of their past, and are thoughful about the measures taken to keep Park Gravenrode moving in the right direction.

State-of-the-art entertainment like Snowworld pushes the boundaries of what's modern, while refurbished local buildings ties the region together with its once positive past.

What to look for in...

  • spring: Blooming flowers blanketing the hillsides
  • summer: Skiers racing down slopes in the indoor village
  • autumn: Colourful leaves falling quietly to the ground
  • winter: Guests sipping hot coffee at the Erenstein Castle

Sightseeing tips:

  • Wake up in what was an ancient farmhouse.
  • Have a snowball fight in the indoor ski village.
  • Watch blissful animals for hours at the zoo.
  • Begin a long bike ride at sunrise.

More information: