Winterswijk is a village in the most east part of The Achterhoek. It is also the capital of Municipality Winterswijk. During the Roman Empire Germanic tribes lived around Winterswijk. Archaeologists found some coins made out of bronze with the head of Servius Sulpicius Galba, a Roman general. The village must be at least over 1000 years old!
Winterswijk has always been a pretty large village. Since the 17th century textile industry was the main source of existence and a corporation, called the St. Michaëlsgilde, was established (1682). When the steam-engine made his entrance the textile industry got a boost and the amount of inhabitants in Winterswijk grew quickly. At the beginning of the 20th century there were seven textile factories in the village!
Winterswijk has two railway stations. From the main station you can travel to Zutphen or to Arnhem. The first railroad track was opened in the year 1878, an initiative of textile manufacturer Jan Willink. He saw that transportation of products to Germany was very important for the trade market. He was therefore not only very important for the textile industry in the area, but also for the development of railroad tracks in the northeast part of the Netherlands, including the Achterhoek. He was the founder of the railroad company ‘GOLS’ who managed some local railroad tracks in the provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel. The company stopped to exist in 1928. The old GOLS station in Winterswijk is now the location of a museum. www.transitoost.nl
Winterswijk has beautiful outside areas. Here you will find nine small townships, clockwise: Meddo, Huppel, Henxel, Ratum, Brinkheurne, Kotten, Woold, Miste and Corle. My grandparents lived for sevral years on a farm in Miste and later on in Corle. I have lots of precious memories to both townships and Winterswijk. In the middle of them, where all the roads come together, you will find the Jacobs Church. The church is open to the public and really worth a visit. From the tower you will have a beautiful view over Winterswijk. The church is situated in the middle of the centre on the market square. www.jacobskerkwinterswijk.nl
When you are in the centre, don’t forget to visit the most extraordinary and special gift shop in the area! Allure Woondecoratie (home decoration) is situated in an beautiful old building, the beginning of the 19th century. You will walk through the house, from room to room, seeing all sorts of products. Even the backyard and little shed are filled with goods! www.allurewinterswijk.nl
Villa Mondriaan is a museum in the centre of Winterswijk. It is situated in the elderly home of the Dutch artist Piet Mondriaan. He got famous all over the world with his geometric abstract art. When he was older, he moved to Paris and changed his last name to Mondrian. Piet Mondrian is an anagram for ‘I paint modern’, which he really did! In Villa Mondriaan you can see all about the younger years of Piet Mondrian. The Community Museum of Den Haag owns the largest collection of works by Mondrian in the entire world. www.villamondriaan.nl/en
In the summer (and other sunny days) you can relax and swim at The Hilgelo Lake. A resort area in the township Meddo with a lot of watersports and a nice sandy beach. The lake arose after sand extraction. On a depth of 12m lies a small bus, popular among divers to explore! Around the lake are several trails for hikers, bikers and horse riders. www.leisurelands.nl/recreatiegebieden/hilgelo
The Sevink Mill is situated right beside The Hilgelo. Besides the mill there is an adventure park with an indoor playground, some restaurants and s camping site with bungalows and safari tents. www.sevinkmolen.nl
In the Scholtenbrugpark in Winterswijk you will find some special things. The natural park is the location of the Piet Mondrian Window. This artwork was inspired by a painting of Mondrian from 1898 called ‘Facing Winterswijk’. When you look through the window you will see the church in the old part of Winterswijk, similar to the view that Mondrian must have had when he made the painting. A beautiful place for a selfie! Another unique monument in the Scholtenbrugpark is the memorial for the victims of the shipping disaster with The Phoenix at Lake Michigan in The USA. In the year 1847 the steamship wrecked because of a fire in the engineroom. Among all passengers on board there were 74 inhabitants from Winterswijk. I wrote a column about this story. Bert Wagendorp (writer from the Achterhoek) is writing a book about the disaster. www.trikker.nl/janettes-nabeschouwing-9
Vineyard Hesselink is located in Winterswijk, delicious wines are produced here. From the farm terrace you will have a nice view over the vineyard (open from April until November). The company organises a lot of activities and offer several arrangements, like tastings including a tour through the yard. www.wijngaardhesselink.nl
For those who like speed, action and excitement Kartbaan (kart racing) Entertainment Centre Winterswijk is the place to be! Inside the enormous industrial building you can choose between 15 different activities. Glowgolf, Hologate, Led-bowling, Speed Soccer and Laser Gaming are some of the options. If you are with a group of people they also offer different buffets. www.kartbaanwinterswijk.nl
If you like to watch some beautiful English style gardens with lots of flowers, bushes and trees then Rosenhaege Living Gardens in Winterswijk is very recommended. The private company is owned by the family Grijsen. Both he and she are designing gardens for more than 15 years. At Rosenhaege you can see about 4,5ha of their British way of designing. On the property is a Celtic café and the British Classic Shop. The entrance to the gardens is €5, really worth it if you ask me. www.rosenhaege.nl
Winterswijk has a very popular brewery, although they just started in 2016. The Wentersch Brewery produces special beers which they brew on the traditional way. They use as much local raw materials as possible. Since 2018 the hops is also cultivated in The Achterhoek. The organize guided tours very often. Wenters beer can be bought in several shops all over The Achterhoek or online. www.wentersch.nl
If you prefer an extraordinary campingsite, surrounded by beautiful nature and goats, then The Brömmels is the right place for you! Already in 1985 the owners, Ellen & Bert, started to plant the hedges and fruit trees as a start for a completely different type of farming. In 1995 they took over the farm and stopped the use of fertiliser and pesticides. Slowly the meadows got a bigger diversity than just grass, other plants and herbs started to grow. The old clay-pit was excavated again, with some swamp around it. Frogs, salamanders and slow worms found a new home here. Because of this natural way of agriculture a lot of birds find their way to the Brömmels farm, like the barn-swallow and the nightingale. There are about 100 goats on the goat cheese farm. After milking the goats, the fresh milk is used to make the cheese on the farm. Guests of the campingsite are more than welcome to watch both procedures. On appointment also groups can visit the farm to see the milking and cheese production. In the lovely shop at the Brömmels you can buy the cheese and also goat meat. On the farmers- terrace (inside & outside) you can have a drink and taste some of the products. On their campingsite you can stay in your own caravan (tent), rent the vintage wooden trailer or stay in the special woodlodge. www.brommels.nl
In The Achterhoek the well-known English Fox Hunt is imitated by the use of a cloth that has an intense fox odour. The foxes are kept in a special kennel and sleep for some weeks on the cloths. With those clogs a specified trace is being marked, making it less or more difficult for the horsemen. The first Fox hunt like this in Winterswijk was in the year 1990. The dogs are trained every day by their owners to keep them in good health. Because it is an English sport with strict traditions, also in Winterswijk all commands are given in English. At the end the dogs will be treated during the kill. Those who like can follow the hunt by bike through the natural area of Winterswijk. There will be one stop on the way where you can meet the horses, huntsmen and dogs. The hunt is organized around the 10th of November every year. www.slipjachtwinterswijk.nl
I had a beagle myself for almost 13 years. I named him Frankie, after the Dutch hound in the (Dutch version) Disney movie The Fox and the Hound. He was my best friend! For a long time it was just him and me. In the night he used to sneak over to my bed and crawl, as carefully as he could, on the foot end. Pour Frankie when I met Marc ;-). He was a beagle without hunting-genes I think. I could unleash him during our walks in the natural area, he was never further out of my visual field. Often I walked together with another woman and her Rhodesian Ridgeback. That dog was very attentive for all moving animals in the fields. Frankie just wanted to play, run and search for food! When the other dog started chasing some rabbit or pheasant, Frankie had an amazed look on his face. Why run for food when my lady-chief has biscuits in her pocket?!