Apeldoorn is located in the province of Gelderland in central Netherlands, close to Amersfoort and Arnhem. As a municipality, the city includes the smaller villages of Beekbergen, Hoenderloo and Loenen. Apeldoorn is split by a canal that was built in the 1800’s and runs to different parts of the Ijssel river for over 52km.
The city has a current population of approximately 157,000 and a wider metropolitan population of over 213,000. A settlement at the site of Apeldoorn has been present since the 8th century, and it has steadily risen to prominence during the 19th century due to major reconstruction after World War II. Today it serves as one of the major employment centres in the eastern Netherlands with around 95,000 people working here. Sights like the Paleis Het Loo and the Apenheul Zoo make this a great place to visit.
Lets explore the best things to do in Apeldoorn:
1. Paleis Het Loo
Constructed in the late 1600’s, the Het Loo palace (The Woods palace) was created for King William III and Mary II of England.
Until the 1960’s, the palace served as the residence for the house or Orange/Nassau.
As the 8th most visited museum in the Netherlands, the site now stands as an important tourist attraction for the region.
With a stunning baroque design, the palace is completely symmetrical and inside features an extensive museum.
Full of authentic artefacts and remnants of the house of Orange-Nassau, the museum offers fantastic insight into the world of Dutch royalty.
Aside from the renovated rooms, there is also an extensive art collection.
You can also take a tour of the stables and the wonderful landscaped gardens.
2. Apenheul Zoo
Also known as Apenheul Primate Park, this extensive sanctuary specializes in Monkeys and Apes.
This ground-breaking establishment was the first in the world to allow the animals to walk freely in their habitat and in-between visitors.
Located in close proximity to the Het Loo palace, the park is within the grounds of the extensive Berg en Bos public park.
Home to over 70 species of animals including 35 different primates, this zoo really does have a great deal to offer.
You can interact with capuchins, howler monkeys, lemurs, orang-utans, macaques, gorillas and gibbons.
This truly is a fascinating place for people of all ages, and the animals are all extremely well looked after and have ample amounts of space to move around in.
3. Klimbos Veluwe
Another fantastic attraction located in the western sector of Apeldoorn within the grounds of stadpark Berg en Bos.
If you are looking for an active adventure Klimbos offers the perfect opportunity.
Within the trees of the forest at Berg en Bos, you will find 8 different climbing routes and over 120 different transition stages.
Ranging from heights of 2m right up to a dizzying 18m, the routes differ in difficulty and length.
Immerse yourself in this high-octane activity and feel the adrenaline kick in as you climb ropes, and fly down high wires and zip lines.
With a set of extremely affordable prices, the Klimbos Veluwe offers a unique experience for all the family.
4. Kroondomein Het Loo
Although this is part of the Het Loo Palace, the gardens and park are more than worthy of a separate entry in their own right.
Situated behind the palace and restaurant is a magnificent landscape garden that is reminiscent of Versailles in France.
Inside the walls of the main garden is a series of square plantations that have amazing hedge patterns and beautifully coloured flowers.
At one end lies a dual semi-circle of pillared colonnades with seating, and a stone fountain, whilst behind this, and in full view of the palace, is a large water fountain.
You could easily spend hours walking through the gardens and the park and loose track of time.
5. Stadspark Berg en Bos
Located at the edge of the Veluwe Hills, the stadspark Berg en Bos covers a vast area of 250 hectares and is the largest park in the region.
Within the confines of this inviting public park you will find a host of walking trails, beautiful forest and also the Apenheul Zoo and Klimbos Veluwe.
The landscape contains both Landscape Park and forest and there are numerous facilities to keep you entertained.
A large pond surrounded by many plants and flowers is located near the entrance, and a 26m watchtower that is accessible and provides fantastic views of the countryside.
Furthermore there is a charming butterfly garden with a myriad of different species.
6. De Veluwsche Stoommaatschappij steam train
For another different activity, the De Veluwsche steam train takes you back in time and transports you from Beekbergen in Apeldoorn to Dieren.
This purely delightful steam train has been restored to its former glory and has all its original fittings and a whole host of wooden panelling giving it a vintage feel.
Aside from the train ride, you can also explore the depot at Beekbergen and see the other steam engines that are housed there.
A meal and drinks are available on the train and you will have plenty of time to discover what the various carriages have to offer, and what the old engine looks like.
7. Hoge Veluwe National Park
As the largest park in the Gelderland region, Hoge Veluwe covers a vast area and is located between Apeldoorn and Arnhem.
First developed in 1909 as a private estate, the area is now one of the most fascinating and varied national parks in the Netherlands.
Within the boundaries you will find three museums; the Kroller-Muller museum which is dedicated to art and features various works from Van Gough, the Museonder museum which gives insight into the underground world, and the Jachthuis Sint Hubertus which served as an old hunting lodge.
Aside from the museums, you can explore the vast parkland and admire the bizarre sand dunes that lie here.
8. Take a skydive at Teuge Airport
Located in the small village of Teuge which is approximately 15 minutes drive to the east of Apeldoorn lies the Teuge international airport.
At this friendly and quaint airport you can book a adrenaline packed skydive! The National Paracentrum caters to a wide audience and you can take part in a tandem skydive which will drop you from a staggering height of between 9000-12000ft.
Alternatively for the experience sky-diver, you can take parachute training or even canopy control.
Whatever you choose to do, this is sure to be a memorable experience in the heart of the Netherlands.
9. Rent a bike and take the Apeldoorn Cycle route
If you are an avid cycling fan, the Apeldoorn Cycle Route will offer a fantastic challenge.
Stretching for 44km the route will travel through a large amount of stunning woodland and through the Heather filled fields of the Veluwe.
Other sights along the way include the aforementioned Het Loo Palace, the Apeldoorn Kanaal, the ancient settlement of Hoog Buurlo, and the charming villages of Hoog Soeren and Assel.
Bicycle rental is available at various points in the centre of Apeldoorn and the tourist centres can provide full details of this amazing route.
10. Grote Kerk
Many churches in the Netherlands are called “Grote Kerk” and there is one such church in the centre of Apeldoorn.
As a relatively modern church (compared to other older structures), the Grote Kerk was constructed in 1892 in a Neo-Renaissance style and has a large central bell tower.
No other than a young Princess Wilhelmina laid the first foundation stone of the church and she regularly visited the church afterwards.
While the exterior of the church is striking, the interior is really outstanding with a high and patterned ceiling, and a large wooden organ that was created by celebrated organ architect John Frederick White.
11. Julianatoren Apeldoorn
For a fun packed day why not take the family to the Julianatoren themepark? Located on the western outskirts of Apeldoorn, this adventure landed is geared mainly towards children however teenagers and adults will find a great amount of fun too.
Here you will find a whole host of different rides, stalls and attractions including a Ferris wheel, several rollercoaster’s among others.
There really is something for everyone and there are also several cafes and food stalls you can get a snack or a tasty bite to eat from.
12. Kinderparadijs Malkenschoten
Sitting right next to the Malkander swimming complex is the Kinderparadijs park.
Aimed primarily at children, this park has a wide variety of activities to offer from a playground, to water sports and even a petting zoo and a selection of animals for the children to interact with.
Your children will be able to play mini golf, have fun on the water in pedalos and ride a small gauge train.
You will not believe the brilliant value for money – The ticket prices are extremely reasonable and if you have a young family, this is the perfect place to unwind.
Just to the north of the main shopping area in Apeldoorn is the Oranjepark.
Although only covering an area of a few hundred meters squared, this park is a truly beautiful place and provides the perfect opportunity to relax and escape from the city.
With neatly manicured grassland, a teardrop shaped pond (with a delightful fountain at one end), a bandstand and several small wooded areas, this park has great variety.
Music concerts and performances are often held here and it is a favourite haunt of the locals.
Enjoy a pleasant stroll or even a picnic in the grounds of this fantastic place.
14. Castle Loo
Het Loo Palace is simply full of wonderful attractions and one such sight is the Het Out Loo or Castle Loo.
Built in the 15th century on the estate, the castle was originally used as a hunting lodge.
Today it stands as a quest house and residence for the royal family and although it is not open to the public, you can still walk around the moat of this magical building and admire its architecture and setting.
Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the essence of this picture perfect castle.
15. Aquacentrum Malkander
Continuing the trend of the great active attractions in Apeldoorn, the Malkander aqua centre is a fantastic swimming complex located i the south of the city.
With reasonable prices and great accessibility for people of all ages and abilities, this complex offers a great opportunity to practice your swimming and enjoy some fun in the water.
Inside the large building are several different depth pools both for lane swimming and recreation.
Furthermore the are several indoor and outdoor slides and a floats and toys available for the children.