A Taste of Van Gogh

A Taste of Van Gogh is a cycling route that takes you through the rural surroundings that inspired the great artist. The 70-kilometre (43 miles) route starts in Etten-Leur, where Vincent temporarily worked and lived with his parents in 1881. Hop on your bike and discover the places that remind us of him or were important in his life. Extra fun: along the way you will learn more about the local food culture and cycle past various addresses for recommended regional products.

Best time to visit: all year long

Van Gogh Nationaal Park - Bossche Broek fietsers
Van Gogh Nationaal Park - Etten-Leur Landgoed De Pannenhoef 2
Van Gogh Nationaal Park - Etten-Leur Landgoed De Pannenhoef

Enjoying the fruits of nature

The Menmoerhoeve is all about sustainability and respect for the environment. Relax on the terrace and enjoy fantastic local products, mostly from their own vegetable garden and fruit orchard. The meat also comes from their own livestock. The name of the 'Menmoer' farm refers to the area that has been part of the business since the 15th century. Originally it was a marsh area and 'Menmoer' was the name for a path through the marsh. This path runs along the farm, also called a ‘hoeve’, and voilà - the perfectly chosen name. 

Heath, marsh and a red sunset

The Pannenhoef nature reserve is located next to the Menmoerhoeve. This must be the landscape that Vincent describes in one of his letters to his brother Theo. In it, he talks about the heath, marsh and a red sunset behind the pine trees.

Photo: Femke Nouws

The Pannenhoef is now home to forest, fens, avenues, streams and flowery meadows but from the 14th to the 17th century, it looked very different. Peat was extracted at that time for use as fuel for households and breweries. There are eight so-called 'peat piles' dotting the landscape, which indicate the thickness of the peat layer at the time and tell the history of its extraction. With the recovery of 11 original fens comes the return of rare plants such as lousewort and marsh St John’s-wort. Amphibians such as pool and moor frogs have once again made it their home.

Van Gogh Nationaal park - audiozuil Zwarte Schuur (Pierre van Damme)
Photo: Pierre van Damme

De Zwarte Schuur

The Zwarte Schuur is an information centre in the Pannenhoef and an ideal starting point for a walk or bike ride around the area. Visit the exhibition about the cultural history and the flora and fauna of the nature reserve or watch one of the nature films. There is a small bakehouse next to the Zwarte Barn and you can often smell the delicious aroma of freshly baked bread.

Visiting the Trappist brewery

Zundert is one of the two places in the Netherlands where real Trappist beer is brewed, namely at De Kievit Trappist brewery. It is really quite special because only 12 brewing Trappist monasteries in the world are allowed to bear the 'Authentic Trappist Product' logo. Monks have been brewing beer here since ancient times to provide their livelihoods and support people in need. They make a limited production of two beers: Zundert Trappist 8 and Zundert Trappist 10. Both can be purchased in the abbey shop.

Van Gogh Nationaal Park - asperges

The White Gold

In April, May and June, stop for the 'Queen of Vegetables' at De Santspuy wine and asparagus farm in Etten-Leur. The asparagus is freshly picked daily during these three months. You won’t get it any fresher than this. Buy it in the farm shop along with other local products. Excursions and guided tours are also available on request.

Through the eyes of...

Don’t forget to visit the Oude Buisse Heath near Zundert. This is where Vincent van Gogh, the son of a vicar, walked with his family as a child and found inspiration. Visual artist Richard Roland Horst and his wife Henriette, a writer and politician, also found peace and inspiration here. With ancient forests and meadows, fields, fens and farms, it is a lovely area for walking. Go for one of the themed walks and see what they saw.

A Taste of Van Gogh