Almen is a village belonging to the municipality of Lochem. The village is located in the middle of agrarian and natural area on some beautiful estates. The landscape here is typical for The Achterhoek, a so called ‘scenery landscape’. The way of building and planting give the idea of the scenes on a stage. The protestant church is from the 14th century. There is a crypt with mummified bodies (no access) and a baptismal font from the 11th century.
In Almen you will find a very nice hotel, situated in a former hospital from 1908. The estate around the hotel is really beautiful. Have a look yourself!
A famous poet from the Achterhoek is Anthony Christian Winand Staring. In Almen you will find some traces of this man. Along the river in Almen there is a historical lovely little tea pavilion from 1850, called the ‘Staring-dome’ and some wooden signs with phrases from his poems. It was built by Constancia Staring, the daughter of the poet. You can reach it by using a small hand operated cable ferry. There are several nice walking trails along the Berkel river.
In the centre of Almen you can visit Museum Staal which will tell you everything about the poet Staring. The name is a combination out of the first letters of his name and the name of the village. www.museumstaal.nl
The Vetweide in Almen is a very nice little campingsite besides a family farm from 1848. In the middle of natural area you can take one of the donkeys with you on a hike! Children are allowed to ride them. They also organize workshops woodworking, their puzzle-footstool is very famous! www.devetweide.nl
Gorssel is a rather wealthy village inside the municipality of Lochem. The area around the ‘Geertruida Cornelia Mill’ is the oldest part of the village (1253). Just outside the village you will find a beautiful natural park, called The Gorsselse Heide (heathland). The area was used as military training grounds for about two centuries. In 1865 a railroad was built through the heathland. Therefor the military bought another piece of heathland, more to the south. At the end of the 20th century most of the military training grounds in The Netherlands were no longer necessary, both parts became natural park. Now it’s the home of butterflies, dragonflies, lizards, birds and also lots of toadstools. There are several hiking trails, variable distances, through the heathland. www.markegorsselseheide.nl
Museum MORE is located in the centre of Gorssel. The museum has the largest collection of Modern Realism in The Netherlands. The monumental building from 1914 used to be the town hall of Gorssel. In the village Ruurlo (municipality Berkelland) Museum MORE opened a second location. www.museummore.nl
Ropery Steenbergen is one of the last still working rope factories. Very special is the 180 meters long track where the (climbing) ropes are being stamped. Against a small fee you can visit the factory and their very interesting little museum. Tours for groups are possible, only on appointment. www.touwslagerij.com
Gorssel has some wonderful private gardens, hidden behind lovely houses. Some of them are now and then open to the public and really worth a visit. The Alpine Garden for example also sells personal cultivated plants. www.lewisiatuin.nl/nl/cms/-english-visitors
From 1981 until 2013 there was a shelter for white storks, known as The Stork Village, located on the forebanks of the IJssel river. It was a project to bring back white storks into the valley of the IJssel river. The project was a success, nowadays there are still a lot of white storks in the area of Gorssel. If you take a stroll along the river you might here their rattles!
Buitenkunstig Gorssel is a large festival in the centre of the village every third Sunday in June. It’s a market full of art, vintage, music, theatre, lots of activities for children and delicious foodtrucks. www.buitenkunstiggorssel.nl
The IJsseljazz Festival is the largest free accessible jazz and blues festival in the north-east part of The Netherlands. The stages are in the centre of Gorssel, every year about 18.000 people visit the festival. www.ijsseljazz.nl
In Gorssel are different options to spend one or more nights. I will mention the ones with English information on their website.
Laren is a village inside the municipality of Lochem. Laren was already mentioned in some documents from the year 1295. Laren is well known for its many estates with castles and manors. The famous long distance hiking train ‘The Pieter Pad’ runs through Laren.
Huis Verwolde, one of the estates, is now a museum. The manor was built in 1776 and knows a long history of baronesses and noblemen. They organize a lot of excursions and activities. In the surrounding park you will find the thickest Oaktree in all of The Netherlands! The perimeter is more than 7,5 meters. www.verwolde.glk.nl
Nearby, in the small village Eefde, is another beautiful estate called Het Haveke. Here you can rent an apartment for your holiday or make a stroll through the lovely gardens. http://www.hethaveke.com/en
Laren is the location of the company ‘Unieke Uitjes’ (unique excursions). It’s the perfect place to rent a special vehicle or make arrangements for a lot of outdoor and indoor activities. www.uniekeuitjes.nl
Lochem is a city in The Achterhoek, capital of the municipality Lochem. The city is situated at the Berkel river and nearby you will find the Lochemse Mountain. On a certificate from the year 1059 the church in Lochem was already mentioned. Excavations during the renovation of the church showed that there had to be a wooden church around 900 a.C. That makes Lochem one of the oldest parishes in The Achterhoek. From the once double moat around the city, a large part of the inner moat is still there. In the year 1615 Lochem was struck by a huge city fire, four houses and the church was all there was left. The inhabitants of Lochem sometimes are called ‘Koolhazen’ (cabbage hare), because of a hare plague in the past.
From April, until October, you can sail in the river Berkel in an open boat and explore Lochem from the water, just like in Borculo. A lot of arrangements are possible. www.stichtingberkelzomp.nl/
On the hill The Lochemse Berg (49,2m) you can make nice walks. It’s a nice wooded area with lots of animals and a nice view. The hill is a left over from the ice age. There is a beautiful round watch-tower from 1893, the Belvedère (meaning ‘nice view’). Unfortunately the tower is no longer open to the public. There are activity’s and excursions on regular basis.
Lochem has a lot of nice hotels, cottages for rent and camping sites. www.delochemseberg.nl
Zwiep is the smallest village of the municipality Lochem (56 inhabitants), nevertheless one of the most famous! Here the legend of the White Vixen got started. The White Vixen are mythical creatures, female figures sometimes good and sometimes evil. The myth has its roots in the Germanic Period. In the Achterhoek they sometimes call a fogbank also ‘White Vixen’. There are a lot of similarities with the Irisch Daoine Sidhe and the Banshee. On the Lochemse Mountain you can find the White Vixen Pit and the Devils Spring. I know the perfect persons who can tell you all about them!
The Zwiepse Mill (1851) is also worth a visit. There is a restaurant, a small museum with coffee-grinders and nearby a B&B with four rooms. www.dezwiepsemolen.nl