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Apeldoorn is a city in the center of the Netherlands in the province of Gelderland with approximately 150,000 residents. It is a pretty new city although it has a long history going back to the 700’s as a small village. It was built at a crossroads, as were many villages at the time as this effectively doubled the opportunities for trade and travel. It stood on the crossing of the Amersfoort to Deventer route, and the road from Arnhem to Zwolle. And travelers constantly passing through would be a source of wealth, compared to that normally available in a small rural community.

The Origins of  the Palace Het Loo

The residents of Apeldoorn seem to have lived a quiet farming existence until several hundred years later until the Dukes of Gelderland built a lodge there for their family, friends and acquaintances to go hunting which must have caused a great upheaval and no doubt an upturn in the finances of the local community.

In the 17th century the site was used to build a huge and grand palace for the royal family of William the 3rd of England. Originally called Nieuwe Loo, It is now known as the famous royal palace of Het loo and is still a great favorite among the royal family of today. There was considerable building in the 1800’s and the Protestant church was rebuilt there after a great fire at the end of the nineteenth century. Het Loo is now the summer home of the Dutch royal family.

More Modern Times

Since extensive rebuilding after the Second World War, Apeldoorn is now known as a “new town”. During the war the city was occupied by the German army, but also housed a substantial number of refugees from other areas. The city was liberated in April 1945 by the Royal Canadian Regiment. There was very little damage done to the town as the German army left fairly quickly after the Canadians arrived, although there was still considerable fighting in the local area.

Apeldoorn in the 17th century by Jacob van Ruisdael
Apeldoorn in the 17th century by Jacob van Ruisdael

The city was built and quickly expanded, as did the population to its current amount. Work in the town is mainly centered on the local paper mills as well as some government institutions. Apeldoorn today is known as a happy and modern place to live it has lots of green spaces and good facilities such as hospitals and a main line train terminus and plenty of work opportunities.

Apeldoorn is a city of beauty and history. It is probably most known for being named after the House of Apeldoorn, a family that has grown in power and reputation, in Gelderland, during ancient times. Today, it is a beautiful city that offers visitors a glimpse of the medieval era castles and museums that details the city’s history.

Apeldoorn has been a pretty peaceful place throughout history and was in itself a not a very significant area of the Netherlands but that all changed once it became the focus of industrialization which started around the 1940’s. Before that it was a rural town known for being founded by the Apeldoorn family which was a prominent and wealthy family during the medieval times. It is also the area where the palace Paleis Het Loo is erected. It has been a long standing palace that sheltered most of the Dutch royal family during medieval times, most notably the Nassau-Orange royal house. This area was their family summer residence and a hunting lodge. Nowadays, it has been renovated is now one of Apeldoorn’s highlight tourist spots.

Apeldoorn is also home to Netherlands earliest Jewish community. During the 1770’s a small group Jewish German settlers arrived in Apeldoorn from Deventer. The Jewish community remained and prospered in the area right until the 1940’s when the flames of World War 2 started seething into their country. During this turbulent era, the Jewish communities were forced to register to the government as German forces have already started invading the country. Not soon after that arrests were made on a daily basis and come one of the darkest times in the city’s history.

During World War 2, Apeldoorn was the site of when Netherlands was finally liberated by the Allied forces from Germany. It was the first objectives of the Allied forces in their advance. After a week of fighting, the city of Apeldoorn was finally wrested from the hands of German soldiers, and as soon as the Canadian forces entered the city, residents displayed the Dutch flag on every home and shop in the city, signalling the end of their ordeal. Today, the city celebrates the date of their liberation with a parade that includes the veteran soldiers.

Apeldoorn has stood the test of time and its residents are currently experiencing a rise in their economy. While it did have its fair share of dark times, the brighter spots in its history completely outshine the grimier parts. It is truly a place of peace and harmony and a perfect example that shows Netherland’s culture and their peaceful nature. The history of Apeldoorn is still being written today.

Transportation in Apeldoorn

Apeldoorn is a medium sized city in the middle of the Netherlands that is home to about 150,000 people. It is about 60km from Amsterdam.

Getting to Apeldoorn

Arriving at Amsterdam Schiphol airport, where planes arrive from all over the world. You can get a train from the airport straight  to Apeldoorn in just over an hour. If you arrive at Eindhoven airport as is the case with many of the low cost airlines, you can still take a train but it will take around 2 hours to arrive. Travelling by train there are also direct services from the terminus at Amsterdam. For international train travel Apeldoorn is on the direct line from Berlin to Amsterdam.

If you are travelling by car from Amsterdam you will first need to navigate your way around the city and then get onto the ring road and leave at the junction of the A1. This will take you straight to Apeldoorn in around and hour. You should, if taking this route, try to leave at a time that is not when commuters will be travelling to and from work, as this can add, considerably, to your journey time.

Getting Around Apeldoorn

If you want to travel around Apeldoorn and see some of the tourist sites, (most of which are not in the town center) the best way is to get the bus. The bus station is very conveniently situated in the centre of the city just around the back of the train station.  This serves as a hub for the bus routes and makes it very easy to get anywhere as all of the bus routes go through there. All you need to do is to take the bus from wherever you are to the station and change there to get to your destination. The fares are very reasonable as well, you can get a ticket to go anywhere within the hour for only 1.50 euros.

If you are travelling late at night, or you want to get quickly to your destination, then you can always get a taxi. The taxis in Apeldoorn are clean efficient and reliable. You can find them at taxi stands or you can phone and arrange for the taxi to meet you, or you are able to flag one down in the street. As elsewhere in Holland a lot of people travel by bicycle and you can hire one at bike shops some hotels and from the train station.

Tourism in Apeldoorn

If you are holidaying in Apeldoorn, although the town itself is mainly fairly new, it is a great place to use as a hub for travelling to all sorts of interesting places that are within easy reach of the town. There is a lot of parkland in Apeldoorn and it is well known locally for its green spaces and the forest land that is on its borders.

The Palace and the Zoo

apenheul
Apenheul

Apeldoorn is probably best known as the location for the palace of Het loo. Built in the 17th century, Het Loo was once home to William the 3rd, king of England. Although the palace itself is a wonderful place, probably the best part of it for tourists is its formal gardens. Although large and spectacular they are easy to get around and are well worth the visit by themselves.

The Apenheul Zoo is well known for its wonderful wildlife environments. The zoo specializes in monkeys. It is a great place to go for anyone interested in the lives of the great apes. And if you go there you might get to see them a bit closer than you would think, as some of the monkeys are free to roam around the zoo and to mix with the visitors.

Shopping and Eating

If you are going shopping in Apeldoorn you will find all of the usual brands and department stores as you would get in any big town, in the Hoofdstraat and the Oranjerie, a very modern shopping mall. But if your taste in shopping is a bit more off beat then you will find antique, art and alternative shops on the Asselsestraat.

There are many places to eat in Apeldoorn, as well as all of the usual fast food establishments, there are some great local eateries and restaurants. The restaurant Moon Sky is a great little Indian restaurant on Hoofdstraat. As well as good food it has a charming atmosphere and attentive staff. The Grand Cafe De Notiris is a cafe serving tasty and well cooked food. If you want to go for some higher end cuisine the you need to go a bit out of town to the Hotel Gastronomique de Echoput Amersfoortseweg. A wonderful place that serves high end and expensive food.

Although not always a first choice for the tourist, Apeldoorn has a great deal to offer the holidaymaker prepared to travel around a bit to find the best places to go.

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