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Landscape in transition – international cycling on the Green Route

Niels

Landscape in transition – international cycling on the Green Route

Bike Touring Collection by Hannah

4-7

days

3-5 h

/ day

220 mi

6,350 ft

6,650 ft

The border triangle of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands was once one of the largest coal mining areas in Europe. Most of the mines closed in the 1970s and are no longer in operation, but lignite is still mined in the region. This industry has left its mark on the region, but nature is slowly reclaiming its territory – former spoil heaps are overgrown with greenery and opencast mining holes are flooded. This has created extensive park and recreational landscapes that you can now roam through by bike.

The Green Route starts in Düren, Germany, and winds its way in several loops over 370 kilometres (230 mi) through the Netherlands and Belgium to its final destination, Hasselt. Along the way, beautiful riverside cycle paths, magnificent castles and fascinating industrial monuments await, giving you an understanding of the region's history. While you're exploring the three countries, you'll also learn a lot about mining and the renaturation of the region. As a fossil fuel, coal is one of the driving factors behind climate change. The phasing out of coal is therefore crucial in order to continue enjoying the beautiful landscape by bike.

In this Collection, I’ve divided the Green Route into six stages. The daily stages are between 40 and 75 kilometres (25–47 mi) long and are ideal for relaxed day Tours with extended breaks. The route is mainly tarmac, so you can bring your road bike. There are various accommodations at the stage destinations, some of which are geared towards cyclists, so you’ll be well taken care of.

You can easily reach the starting point in Düren from Cologne, Siegen or Aachen by regional train. Hasselt, in Belgium, is also well connected to the rail network and with two changes you’ll be back at the starting point in Düren after just three hours. So nothing stands in the way of your adventure through three countries and the industrial history of the last century.

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Grünroute

226 mi

6,500 ft

6,800 ft

Last updated: February 5, 2022

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Etappe 1: Von Düren nach Aachen – Grünroute

    Difficult
    05:23
    46.6 mi
    8.7 mph
    1,750 ft
    1,575 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Your first stage on the green route starts in Düren at the train station. You can get here super easily with the S-Bahn from Cologne, or with the Regio from Aachen or Siegen. Other direct connections lead via Heimbach or Euskirchen, for example.

    

    The route is 76 kilometers long and includes a few climbs

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  • Intermediate
    04:14
    42.2 mi
    10.0 mph
    1,075 ft
    1,525 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The second stage takes you about 68 kilometers to Tüddern in Selfkant, right on the Dutch border. The tour tends to be slightly downhill - in parts you can just let your bike roll.

    

    Passing the Lousberg, it leaves Aachen and enters the picturesque Wurmtal. You drive along the banks of the Wurm for the

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  • Difficult
    03:24
    34.2 mi
    10.1 mph
    1,325 ft
    1,175 ft
    Expert bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    55 kilometers up and down through the gently undulating border landscape between Germany and the Netherlands. After starting in Tüddern, you will reach the Dutch side after about six kilometers.

    

    You cycle across meadows, fields and small towns, where you can refill your drinking water reserves at the

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  • Intermediate
    03:23
    35.2 mi
    10.4 mph
    925 ft
    1,075 ft
    Ferry
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    The fourth stage takes about 54 kilometers to cross the Dutch-Belgian border. You cycle past numerous castles and on flat terrain along the Meuse.

    An enchanting cycle path leads out of Voerendaal - it's not for nothing that the Dutch are known for their excellent cycling infrastructure. Now it goes through

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  • Difficult
    03:30
    37.0 mi
    10.5 mph
    875 ft
    875 ft
    Expert bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Your fifth stage is 61 kilometers long and runs through the predominantly flat nature, which is characterized by heathland. It starts on a wonderful cycle path along wide fields and shady trees.

    You are now crossing the landscape of the Hoge Kempen National Park. Purple heather, gnarled pines and fascinating

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  • Intermediate
    02:20
    24.9 mi
    10.7 mph
    425 ft
    425 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today is your last stage on the green route. It is only 42 kilometers long - so you have enough time for a relaxed onward journey or a visit to the mining museum.

    

    You cross the Albert Canal and then circle the Paalse Plas Lake. In an arc you get back to the Albert Canal, whose course you now follow for

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    6
  • Distance
    220 mi
  • Duration
    22:14 h
  • Elevation
    6,350 ft6,650 ft

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Landscape in transition – international cycling on the Green Route

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