Not just Renaissance architecture, canals, ports, and cafes, the Netherlands has natural beauty just an hour away from Amsterdam. I decided to combine the excursion to Hoge Veluwe National Park and Wageneningen University into one post, since they were both activities that focused on the unique geomorphology of the land.
Our Wageningen tour guides Jasper and Marijn explained how the Saalien ice age 200,000 years ago is largely responsible for the Netherlands unique soil distribution and land formations including the Rhine river system. The relationship between soil composition, land use, vegetation, and hydrology determines whether an area is suitable for crops, construction, or grazing fields for livestock.
As we sampled water from an artesian well, dug up soil samples, and learned about the local vegetation ( including my favourite flower, Heather), we got to experience first hand the impacts that melting glaciers had on the transportation of sediment from one area to another.
In addition to the Wageningen tour, our group spent a day exploring and cycling through Hoge Veluwe National Park. This park boasts an extensive paved trail system and complimentary bicycles to explore the park on. During our day in the park we kept an eye out for the wildlife that supposedly inhabits the area such as wild boars and deer, but unfortunately we didn’t see any. Hoge Veluwe features heathland, wetlands, woodlands, and sand dunes. The sand dunes were truly an amazing sight! I felt like I was on desert safari, not in the middle of a park in Holland. Near the end of our bike ride we visited the Kröller-Müller Museum Sculpture Garden. This peaceful place had abstract mixed media sculptures, many of which were interactive and allowed the viewer to touch or climb the piece. I hadn’t heard of Hoge Veluwe National Park before leaving Toronto, but after experiencing the beauty of the natural landscape I can safely say it was one of my favourite places in the Netherlands.