Holland – Berg en Dal, Nijmegen

Autumn 2016

It’s off the beaten track and not mentioned in guide books, but that is precisely it’s intrigue: taking Autumn holidays in Holland and basing our family out of glorious Berg en Dal. This small village in the Dutch province of Gelderland is located to the southeast of the city of Nijmegen and ten minutes’ drive from the German border. The name of the village means “Mountain and Valley”; it refers to the hills in the neighbourhood, a rare phenomenon since Holland is completely flat. Serious bike riders come from all over to Berg en Dal because of its rises and troughs; roads that undulate and give riders some stimulation. We foreigners of course took buses and (very expensive) trains to commute to places like Nijmegen and Utrecht, Amsterdam and Schipol.

However staying in Berg en Dal was magical, considering the forest was on our doorstep. We walked everywhere. Deep in the forest we discovered a two-room museum of stuffed native animals (!), an apple orchard, many meadows, miriad miniature gardens based on the varying agricultural landscapes of Holland, a giant dolls house festooned with gnomes, ceramic birds, animals, wind chimes, you name it, from which boomed bagpipes (turns out the Director of the two room museum plays the bagpipes every day, is eccentric and lives alone in the forest in this very dolls house with his pet badger and endless miniature gardens which he maintains).

Berg en Dal boasts one of the best pancake houses of my experience complete with safe outdoor and indoor children’s playground; a wonderful a la carte all you can eat Japanese restaurant attached to a boutique hotel that caters for families (children’s playroom is stuffed full of toys, video player, games: parent heaven); and a very rowdy, plate-smashing Greek restaurant that must be visited if only to dance the Zorba by the roaring fire. Miniature Dutch horses are ready to be fed apples in the paddock and Park Tivoli is a mini Disney World designed for kiddies aged 2-12.

We are so very grateful to have explored Berg en Dal, a beauty spot on the face of Europe…

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