The De Hoge Veluwe National Park is the largest nature reserve in the Netherlands. It began with the dream of Anton Kroller and his wife Helene Kroller-Muller who bought the estate in 1909 and began to import animals and collect art. By the 1930s, they were unable to afford it anymore and donated the place to the state. Since then, the park has been run by a foundation that continues the vision of the Krollers, even finishing building the museum they began. The park is 13500 acres (5400 hectares) of woodland, sand-dunes, heathland and peat bog. It’s home to Red Deer, Wild Boar and Roe, as well as having diverse flora across the different types of landscape.
The visitor center contains a museum, Museonder, which has exhibits about the flora, fauna and geology of the park. Further inside is the Kroller-Muller Museum which houses the Kroller-Muller’s art collection. This includes pieces by Picasso, van Gogh, Seurat, Rodin and Mondrian and other well-known artists. The other building of interest is the 1920s’ hunting lodge, which was the Krollers’ house, designed by influential Dutch architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage, known as the father of modern Dutch architecture.
Situated next to a lake, the building has a very tall tower for spotting the animals, and is named after the patron saint of hunting, St Hubertus. Perhaps then, Kroller was not totally into preserving the wildlife, but these days the deer are safe, except perhaps from cyclists. The park runs a white bicycle scheme and 1700 bikes are available to ride through the park for free, though there is an entry charge to get into the park in the first place. Bicycles are one of the best ways to see the extent of the park, especially given how flat the land is.