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When we agreed to housesit for the holidays in the small village of Beek-Ubbergen in the Gelderland Region of the Netherlands, we expected small town charm – and we got it. Beek is a one grocer, one post office, one pub, two bakery type of town; a stark contrast from Amsterdam! Brimming with charm, we also ventured just outside the Beek village center and discovered an abundance of nature, local Dutch eats and smaller villages to explore.
Why Visit Beek-Ubbergen, Netherlands?
Shrouded in fascinating history and enchanting charisma, we think there are many things to do in Beek-Ubbergen, Netherlands. The village is just a short bus ride from Nijmegen and an ideal city escape! Our list highlights the best Beek attractions and activities.
#1 The Village of Beek-Ubbergen
Beek-Ubbergen village is home to 3,400 residents – who all seem know each other – and live on quiet streets in red brick homes with smoke puffing out the chimneys. Less than 10km east of Nijmegen – a city with a population of 160,000, Beek Ubbergen has a distinctly different vibe of a small town. The village is tucked between Duivelsberg (Devil’s Mountain) and the Meertje River- and is practically on the German-Dutch border.
Beek-Ubbergen Center Square: The center square in Beek-Ubbergen is a grassy knoll with a small church and cemetery in the center. The square is ringed by an outer road, which has several historic buildings on it, including the Bartholomew Church, quaint hotels, restaurants and shops.
Small Bartholomew Church: Sitting in the center of the town square is the 700-year-old Small Bartholomew Church, which is considered to be one of the best preserved small churches in the area.
Bartholomew Parish Church: Built in 1826, the church has seen several expansions and sustained damage during war. The bell tower, modeled after that of St. Steven’s in Nijmegen, was built in 2006.
Eetcafe de Witte: Eetcafe de Witte is a small and classic pub/restaurant located on the outer ring of the center square.
Monuments to Launderers: The clean, clear water running in the streams through Beek provided a natural place for launderers to set up shop. At one time, around the 1900s, there were 80 such shops in Beek-Ubbergen providing laundry services for the people of Nijmegen.
Gem. Electriciteits Werken–Nijmegen Building: The brick building is situated close to the Beek town center and houses a museum, as well as the local tourist office.
Monument to the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division: The monument is dedicated to the United States 82nd Airborne Division for their part in liberating Beek from Nazi Germany in 1944.
#2 Beek-Ubbergen Hills and Nature Paths
The hills (not really mountains at all, standing at only 250 feet) are the result of glacial ice melt from 150,000 years ago. In the Netherlands, hills are an anomaly – and this small range of topography is practically in our back yard (or side yard, more specifically).
Several paths (some that double as driveways) lead south from the main street into the forested park. The trail closest to us passes by one house and a pasture, where we often have to contend with a herd of cattle before continuing deep into the 308 acres of nature reserve. Connecting trails weave through mostly deciduous trees and (on any day besides Sunday) we could very well not see another soul during our hikes.
At the east end of Beek-Ubbergen, just meters from Germany, is Wylerbergmeer. The small lake is circled by paths, home to a variety of birds and has a sandy beach that we are sure is popular with kids in the summertime.
In the winter, however, it’s not so crowded. On our early morning walks we sometimes encounter camping fishermen or fellow dog walkers, but often have the wide open space to ourselves. We’ve witnessed stunning sunrises and trees filled with fog – and we find it heavenly to breath in the fresh air.
#3 The Dutch Pancake House
When we get hungry, we simply head in the direction of the Pancake House, where we can quickly replenish the calories we’ve just burned. Pannenkoeken de Duivelsberg, which sits on the top of the hill, has been selling pancakes since 1963 from an old, early-1900s farmhouse. It’s one of the most iconic Beek-Ubbergen restaurants!
Unlike pancakes as Americans think of them, these big-as-your-plate pancakes are both sweet and savory – and serve as lunch and dinner, not breakfast. As odd as it was to order a single pancake topped with ham, cheese, tomato and fried onion for lunch, it surely satisfied.
Want to learn more about Dutch cuisine?! Check out our list of the 17 Must-Try Dutch Foods!
#4 Visit Other Nearby Towns
Beek-Ubbergen is considered a small village, but the outlying villages are even smaller – and perhaps even more charming. Either a walk, bike or bus ride away, these villages near Beek-Ubbergen are perfectly quaint!
Paths lead from the Wylerbergmeer Lake north of the village along the river and into farm land. Scattered even further north are other villages, including Netherland’s smallest hamlet, Persingen, with only 89 residents. The entire area is connected with narrow one-lane roads that are biked more than driven.
The village of Ooij, just north of Beek-Ubbergen, is situated along the south bank of the Waal River. The pleasant town has a population of 2,250, wide open fields and several bike trails.
The historic gardens in Kleve, Germany – which is just across the border from Beek-Ubbergen, Netherlands – were created in the 17th century. The view across the valley encompasses the 600-meter-long water way.
Thornsche Molen Windmill
One of the Netherlands’ iconic symbols is the windmill – and there are more than 1000 in the country. Historically, windmills were used to drain fields, pumping water out of farmlands. The Thornsche Molen windmill, which also serves as a restaurant, is a short bike ride from Beek-Ubbergen.
Want more tips for the Gelderland Region? Check out our list of Things To Do in Nijmegen, Netherlands!
We want to know: Have you been to Beek-Ubbergen in the Netherlands? What did you like about the village? Tell us in the comments! Be sure also read out detailed guides to Amsterdam and Haarlem, Netherlands!
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