Five walks through the life of Van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh often enjoyed walking through the Brabant landscape. He knew the area like the back of his hand and used the walks as a source of inspiration. Could you also use some natural inspiration and are you curious about the most picturesque spots in Van Gogh National Park? Then follow one of the five Van Gogh walking routes. Cross the landscape where Vincent grew up and where his work was created. Immerse yourself in the peaceful surroundings and spend some time along the way visiting locations that were part of his life.
All year long
The walking routes depart from Zundert (8 km), Etten-Leur (14 km), Nuenen (10 km) and, starting at the end of 2022, also from Helvoirt and Tilburg. Just follow the well-known walking junctions.
Walk along Vincent’s native soil in Zundert
From his birthplace of Zundert, you pass locations where Van Gogh walked as a child with his parents, brothers and sisters. Where he played with animals and created his first drawings. Where he fantasized and dreamed about what he wanted to be when he grew up. In addition to a glimpse back into the past, you can also focus on the current landscape. Where in Van Gogh's time there were expansive rye fields, a new park-like area is now blossoming, with street names that remind you of Van Gogh's sketches and paintings.
Vincent van Gogh House
The Vincent van Gogh House brings you a little closer to Vincent's life. For example, you’ll learn more about the great painter's Zundert period and also see temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary artists who were inspired by Van Gogh.
Vincent van Gogh regularly used to escape to the village of Etten-Leur as a bolthole. His family lived there from 1875 to 1882 and he visited mainly to enjoy their hospitality and companionship and to take long nature walks in the area. At the age of 27, he set up a studio in the outbuilding of the rectory to really get started as an artist. It was a dream that became reality. He followed his heart.
This route takes you through the Pannenhoef nature reserve. You will therefore not come across the Van Gogh Monuments in the centre of Etten-Leur (points of interest 11 to 16), but they’re also definitely worth a visit.
Productive years in Nuenen
Van Gogh's past comes to life in Nuenen. It is the place with the most buildings, statues and landscapes directly related to the time in which the artist was active there. This is hardly surprising since he lived and worked there from 1883 to 1885. He created almost a quarter of his total oeuvre during this productive period, including his first masterpiece The Potato Eaters.
This route starts at the Vincentre museum in Nuenen, which is definitely worth a visit. During the walk you pass the Het Nuenens Broek nature reserve, which is being returned to a more natural state. You’ll also be guided past old hamlets and the church village of Gerwen, where Vincent drew the Saint Clement Church.
Vluchtpunten audio walk
Vincent wrote letters in which he went into great detail about his views, the people he met and his developments as a painter. The Vluchtpunten audio walk is inspired by these letters. So if you want to completely immerse yourself in Van Gogh’s world, go to the App Store/Google Play Store and search Echoes for 'Vluchtpunten'.
Tilburg: the city where Vincent learned to draw
It was in Tilburg that the young Van Gogh received his first drawing lessons in 1866 from painter and art teacher Constant Cornelis Huijsmans. He was 13 years old at the time and soon became acquainted with the city, which then had about 8,500 inhabitants. The Tilburg-Breda railway line and the station had been there for just three years. Most people earned their living as weavers and by working in factories. With small fields and traditional pollarded willow trees, the Leij and the Voorste Stroom rivers shaped the landscape in the immediate vicinity of Tilburg. That is still the case today. Walk out of the city and into the beautiful natural surroundings and discover the cosy Piushaven (Pius Harbour), the Nieuwe Herdgang observation tower and Landscape Park Moerenburg-Koningshoeven.