Parque Nacional Sallandse Heuvelrug & Twents Reggedal

Hills, forests, and purple beauty from the ice age

Want to go exploring for traces that the ice age left behind over 100,000 years ago? In that case, you should definitely visit this beautiful natural Dutch landscape. With 26 ‘mountains’, Sallandse Heuvelrug National Park & Twents Reggedal is the largest single stretch of dry moorland in northwest Europe. The surprising altitude variations result in a landscape that doesn’t seem to belong in the Netherlands, with unimaginably beautiful vistas. Here, you can go on an active hike while enjoying the restful view of the vast forests, (purple) heather fields, or extraordinary birds.

Balance and experience

The Sallandse Heuvelrug is actually a moraine landscape, which was created in the next to last ice age 200,000 to 150,000 years ago. Creeping ice exerted gigantic forces and dragged along huge boulders weighing thousands of kilograms all the way here from Scandinavia. Its sheer weight pushed up the soil on the sides and end. Creeping ice, melt water and drifting sand created the basis of today’s landscape.

East of the Sallandse Heuvelrug lies the Twents Reggedal valley. This is where the Regge river meanders through the landscape of Overijssel. It is a perfect place to go hiking, biking or boating from source to river mouth whilst enjoying the unique nature reserve, which is an attractive environment for people, plants and animals alike. Bird enthusiasts will love it in particular, as you can spot kingfishers in their natural habitat.

In this landscape of Sallandse Heuvelrug National Park & Twents Reggedal, you will pass through (pine) forests, vast moors, estates, fens and agricultural fields. It is a precious natural landscape with an extraordinary cultural history.  This National Park is also known as the leading outdoor sports area in the Netherlands, particularly due to the MTB (mountain biking) routes.

Throughout the year, countless stakeholders work hard to preserve and optimize use of the natural landscape. Achieving the right balance means that nature evolves, and people and animals will be able to enjoy it long into the future.

Karakteristieke hoekwoning

Beautiful Hanseatic cities

The so-called Hanseatic cities of Deventer and Zwolle are near the Heuvelrug. These cities were members of the Hanseatic League that established joint rights to trading specific goods. Like the other seven Hanseatic cities, Deventer and Zwolle were founded when Amsterdam was still a small and insignificant town. They primarily aimed to expand trade and share knowledge. These cities are most often situated near water since it was an important means of transport. The stunning 14th and 15th century merchant houses with their unique facades take you back in time. A historic adventure for young and old!


Hidden bird variation?

Sallandse Heuvelrug National Park & Twents Reggedal harbors a wealth of bird species, since many birds love to visit or live in this area. It is also the only place in the Netherlands where you can find the black grouse, which is sadly near extinction. As they are also timid creatures, you are unlikely to see them although you might be that lucky bird to catch a glimpse of this rare bird. You are more likely to see the tree pipit, however, which rises a short distance up from a tree, and then parachutes down on stiff wings - a most extraordinary thing to see. If you go for a twilight, evening or night walk, you will probably see European nightjars. They hunt for large insects, such as moths. And if you visit the nature reserve in winter, you may also encounter great gray shrikes. They store mice for later by impaling them on thorns or barbed wire. A little gruesome, perhaps, but also very smart and a special thing to witness.

Sallandse Heuvelrug - paarse loper

Across a purple carpet

In August, the health fields are in bloom. At this time, the Sallandse Heuvelrug is transformed into a stunning purple sea of flowering heather. A uniquely photogenic scene you really shouldn’t miss. There are extra activities in this period under the header ‘De Paarse Loper’ (the purple carpet).


Todos los puntos destacados de un vistazo

Haga una excursión con el guarda forestal, dese una vuelta por la naturaleza virgen o sumérjase en el pasado.

Toughing it out on the pedals of your mountain bike

Remembering the war past of Salland on foot

An endless tour of the hills on a purple carpet




See all local activities and upcoming events here.