Veenendaal is a city and a municipality in the center of Holland. It has a population of around 63,000 people. Veenendaal municipality does not cover any other areas and so the borders of the city are, at least in population, the same as those of the city. There are not many green areas in the city and most of the land has either housing or commercial developments on it. Veenendaal is in the province of Utrecht.
History of Veenendaal
Veenendaal was first noted to have been a settlement in the 1500’s. The name of the city, Veenendaal, means literally, peat valley. Most of the original inhabitants of the village were peat cutters. Many of them would have been doing the manual work of cutting and setting the peat out to dry, whilst others would have had easier jobs such as overseeing the digging and also deciding on the maintenance of bridges and dikes.
At the end of the 1700’s most of the peat banks were used up and there was not enough peat left to make it a profitable business. But Veenendaal also had heathland at the time and so people turned to sheep farming as a way to earn a living and to feed their families. The advent of sheep farming brought about new jobs such as carding the wool and spinning and weaving. They would also have supplemented their wages by growing whatever they could on the land, such as rye or potato’s.
In the middle of the 1800’s the village was hit by a flood that would have ruined crops and destroyed stock animals. However the local people soon picked themselves up again and restarted their lives. The wool and lambs were soon joined by the newer crop of tobacco and this helped to bring in extra money and allowed the population to increase. At the end of the 19th century mechanization reached the then small town and textile factories were built in the area. This helped the town to thrive and kept many in employment. Business was helped a great deal by the building of the railway at this time.
The wool and the tobacco and the textile factories kept the town going, but until after the Second World War the population was still only a few thousand. It is only since the end of the war that Veenendaal became a place that fulfilled it’s potential with the number of inhabitants it has today.
Getting To And Around Veenendaal
If you are flying into Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, then you can get a train directly to Veenendaal De Klomp. The trains run approximately every half hour. There is a good train service and apart from the Amsterdam train you can also get direct trains from Utrecht, Arnhem and Nijmegan. You can also get to Veenendaal from most parts of the country by making connections through Utrecht and Amsterdam. If you are driving, then you can get to the city by taking the A12 from Utrecht or Arnhem. Driving is not the best way to get around Veenendaal as most of the interesting area’s are in the center of town and this is closed to cars.
There is a good bus service in the city and the buses are clean and reliable. If you are going to be using the buses to get around then you will need to get an ov-chipkaart from the station which can be loaded up with credit. Then whenever you get on or off the bus you tap your card on the card reader and it will deduct the right amount for your journey. If you would like to book a taxi, you can do so on, Taxicentrale Veenendaal, +31 318 550 000, or, Leewis Autobedrijven, +31 318 550 000.
Tourism In Veenendaal
De Nieuwe Molen is a traditional Dutch mill. The windmill still works in the old way that it always has done and it still grinds flour. The windmill is only open on Saturdays, but if this not possible for you then you can request to see the mill at other times, but it is run by volunteers so it may depend on whether anyone is available at the time. You can still buy the flour that the windmill makes up to 1 PM on Saturdays.
The Oude kerk, or old church, is a beautiful church building from the 16th century. The building has been fully restored ands is very picturesque. You should make sure to look at the fascinating wooden roof. It is one of the best and oldest buildings in Veenendaal. Sport Total is a canoe and mountain bike rental business. You can paddle the canoe along the canal that runs from Wageningenen to Leusden. There are different places where you can be dropped off and picked up so it should suit most abilities. You can also cycle through the forest on the Utrecht Hill ridge.
Shopping and Eating
Most of the shops in Veenendaal are on a single street called the Hoofdstraat. There is a shopping center at one end called the Scheepjeshof. That is where you will find many of the larger stores that you would get in most Dutch cities. There are also supermarkets and food shops there as well. There are many more smaller and quite interesting shops on the Hoofdstraat and this is where the best cafes are as well. There is another shopping centre at the other end of the street called Corridor.
Dolce Vita is a nice authentic Italian restaurant, with a very good traditional menu made from fresh ingredients. it has everything that you would expect to get from a good Italian restaurant, as well as comfortable surroundings and friendly staff. Restaurant De Vendel is a contemporary restaurant which serves high quality modern cuisine. As well as a modern menu, it also has good sized portions and a helpful staff who can help you to choose, if you wish.
Veenendaal is not the oldest town in the Netherlands but it has some interesting places to visit, as well as forests to trek through and good food and shopping as well.