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Climbing in the Netherlands – six cycle routes to make your legs burn

Michel Bouman

Climbing in the Netherlands – six cycle routes to make your legs burn

Road Cycling Collection by Merijn Heijne | OMSTREKEN

6

Tours

21:26 h

334 mi

9,125 ft

The highest point in the Kingdom of the Netherlands is Mount Scenery, which towers 887 metres (2,910 feet) on the Caribbean island of Saba. Everyone knows that, don't they? Maybe it’s actually better known that the Vaalserberg, a hill in the province of Limburg is the highest point in the (European) Netherlands, standing at 322.4 metres (1,058 feet).

Limburg, on the southeasternmost edge of the country, is the only province in the Netherlands that has real mountains. It’s great to cycle up and over the hills here. Although with gruelling gradients that reach well over 20 percent, it can be surprisingly hard. Yes, we’re thinking of the especially steep hill – Keutenberg! In other regions in the Netherlands, things can get a little tougher. You probably know of a challenging viaduct nearby, a mean bridge, or a sneaky, steep climb up to a dike.

I really enjoy climbing, but in our flat country, that’s not always easy. My friends from other countries laugh about the fact that I can ride more than 100 kilometres (62 miles) without collecting more than 100 metres (328 feet) in altitude difference. They can’t imagine such a thing possibly happening where they live. They’re also surprised that some short climbs in the Netherlands really do have the word ‘mountain’ in their names, such as Amerongse Mountain, Grebbe Mountain, and VAM Mountain. Wouldn’t a hill, hump, or bump be a more accurate description?

Sure, we can’t compare our ‘ascents’ with the world-famous Hors Catégorie routes. We can’t ride uphill for dozens of kilometres to 2000-metre (6,560 feet) peaks. But, nevertheless, there are plenty of routes in the Netherlands which train your calves properly: from beautiful cycle paths through dunes, to transformed rubbish heaps, and paved climbs with magnificent views.

In this Collection, I have compiled six routes across the Netherlands that will make your calves burn. You may encounter some cobblestones and/or gravel, but even these sections are easy to ride on a road bike with 25-millimetre tyres. The start and finish points are easy to reach and close to a train station or car park. On the way, you’ll find plenty of places to stop for food and drink to keep up your energy.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Intermediate
    03:18
    54.0 mi
    16.4 mph
    2,725 ft
    2,725 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    To get straight to the point, this is one of my favorite cycling places in the Netherlands. You can climb and descend here all day long without hardly repeating yourself. In longer tours you can easily reach more than 1,000 vertical meters. In this Tour I stay below that, but rest assured, the trip is still beautiful and challenging.You …

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  • Intermediate
    04:12
    55.0 mi
    13.1 mph
    1,825 ft
    1,825 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    Nijmegen, the renowned student city on the Waal. Famous for the Vierdaagse and Zevenheuvelenloop, major events with tens of thousands of participants. But did you know that you can also enjoy cycling in and around Nijmegen? You are so out of the city and into nature. From vast polders to grueling climbs and a tough trip to Germany.You start …

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  • Intermediate
    04:29
    64.3 mi
    14.4 mph
    950 ft
    950 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    On to Drenthe, perhaps the cycling province of the Netherlands. In this Tour of more than 100 kilometers, the altitude is not too bad, but you will climb one of the newest "mountains" in the Netherlands: the VAM mountain, or the Col du VAM with a height of no less than 4,800 centimeters above sea level.You start the Tour …

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  • Intermediate
    02:29
    39.9 mi
    16.1 mph
    900 ft
    900 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    This may be the shortest Tour of this Collection, but that only means that all the climbing fun is packed even closer together. We start this Tour at the parking lot at the Zeeweg in Overveen, near Haarlem. This is also where the visitor center of National Park Zuid-Kennemerland is located.You cycle west to the North Sea, to the …

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  • Intermediate
    03:42
    61.2 mi
    16.5 mph
    1,625 ft
    1,625 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    You start this Tour at the foot of the 'Almighty' Amerongse Berg, the famous climb on the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. However, I will keep the ascent of the steep side for you for a while, it will only come at the end.From cycling café De Proloog you leave for Leersum. You cycle along the stately estate Broekhuizen via a number …

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  • Intermediate
    03:16
    59.7 mi
    18.3 mph
    1,125 ft
    1,125 ft
    Ferry
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    This Tour starts in Nijverdal, to be precise in De Sallandse Heuvelrug National Park. In less than 100 kilometers you cycle over heath, through forests, over gravel and the many quiet roads in this beautiful area.You start off unpaved, on the Paltheweg through the forest. Since the success of the Strade Bianche ("white roads") in Tuscany, many small roads …

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    6
  • Distance
    334 mi
  • Duration
    21:26 h
  • Elevation
    9,125 ft

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Climbing in the Netherlands – six cycle routes to make your legs burn

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