Kalenberg is a small Overijssel village that is idyllically located in the heart of the Weerribben-Wieden National Park. Due to its location on the water and surrounded by nature, the village is very attractive for tourists who appreciate the peace and nature. On a nice day, the small village with approximately 220 inhabitants can easily expect double the number of tourists.

Visit Kalenberg 

Kalenberg then and now 

History lesson Kalenberg


The origins of Kalenberg date back to the year 1313. The name Kalenberg did not yet exist at the time, because the area between the Hoogeweg and the Kalenbergergracht was called 'Vrierstrate' at that time.


Vrierstrate would be a free street in modern language. This may refer to the free settlers who reclaimed the peat land at the time, but it may have to do with the long, narrow plots of land. The village of Kalenberg (and/or Vrijstrate) was permanently inhabited from the end of the thirteenth century.

How did the name Kalenberg come up?

Over the centuries it has known many names: Kaleberghe, Callenburgh, Calenburg and then Calemberg, which eventually became Kalenberg.

Employment opportunities

The inhabitants were mainly peat diggers. The extracted peat was transported in boats and sold. Later the Kalenbergers focused on livestock farming, fishing and reed cultivation. The Kalenberger reed is still very popular for covering roofs.


Kalenberg is a typical sailing village and was only accessible by boat until the late 1950s. Just like in Giethoorn, everything in Kalenberg was transported by boat. From the cows to the groceries. Every household had and (still has) at least 1 boat available. Almost every house is located on the water.

Real Kalenberger ''expelled"

Nowadays there are hardly any “real” Kalenbergers in Kalenberg. Just like in Giethoorn, the houses in Kalenberg can no longer be afforded and mainly people from “outside” live there with a large bank account.

What to do in Kalenberg?

If you are interested in Kalenberg as a destination, we assume for the sake of simplicity that you prefer to undertake activities related to nature and culture. After all, you don't go to Kalenberg for the entertainment. You go there for the peace and quiet and the beautiful nature. Below are a few suggestions for things to do in Kalenberg and the surrounding area:

  • Take a walk with a ranger from Staatsbosbeheer through the Weerribben-Wieden National Park or discover the park and nature on your own. You can view which activities are being organized on this activities page.
  • A bike ride gives you just a little more scope, allowing you to see more of the area than by walking. There are several beautiful cycling routes from Kalenberg.
  • Rent a whisper boat from Pieter Jongschaap and discover the Weerribben-Wieden National Park from the water.

What to do in the Kalenberg area?

  • The gondola rides from Dwarsgracht, Belt Schutsloot or Giethoorn are really worth it.
  • Visit The Colonies of Benevolence, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2021. See more about The Colonies of Benevolence further down this website
  • Visit the braiding museum in Noordwolde. This is also a very nice museum to visit with children. Check the website for opening hours.
  • Take a look at the Valse Kunst museum in Vledder. This unique museum has been around for 25 years and shows a lot of beautiful art with a story. And they are all counterfeit. The museum also has a room with contemporary glass art. You can buy glass objects and glass jewelry in the museum shop.
  • Visit the De Proefcolony museum in Frederiksoord. In this beautiful museum you can experience the history of The Colonies of Waldadigheid. In the museum you travel through time through 3 rooms. This experience starts every 20 minutes.
  • Visit Spinnekopmolen de Wicher. Staatsbosbeheer organizes excursions during which the miller gives a demonstration.
  • Come and taste cheese at Henri Willig in Giethoorn

Activities in the Kalenberg area

Cycling in Kalenberg


One of the ways to discover Kalenberg and the surrounding area is by bicycle. With kilometers of cycle paths you can enjoy cycling in the Weerribben-Wieden, through the greenery, along waters and over bridges. You can download a very nice cycling route in the area via cycling network nl. Kalenberg can be used as a starting point, but of course also as an intermediate point for your cycling route. If you don't have your own bicycle, you can always rent one at one of the bicycle rental points. You can rent a bicycle at Rietershuijs in Kalenberg.

SUP in Kalenberg


Exploring the Weerribben on a SUP board. If you are curious, just try it! Unlike other board sports, where you spend a lot of time practicing, SUPing is quick to learn and easy to do, without having to follow a long instruction or course. Once you are paddling and get the hang of it, you can explore the beautiful surroundings of the Weerribben-Wieden National Park. Because you are standing you can look over the reeds and you have a beautiful view.

Canoeing in Kalenberg


Would you like to burn calories for a day? How about a day of canoeing in the Weerribben? In our opinion, it is the best activity in the Weerribben. In the National Park, the largest contiguous peat bog in Northwestern Europe. In this National Park you will discover a wide variety of flora and fauna. You can find cool canoe routes on the website kanoroutes.nl. You can rent a canoe at Café restaurant de Weerribben. Book by telephone on 0561-477243


Ice skating Weerribben


Skating in the Weerribben. It will take some getting used to seeing all those skaters on the ice, instead of all those boats that are rented out in the summer. The landscape, sometimes even accompanied by snow, has completely changed during an ice skating trip. Be careful not to hit your head on a bridge. In the surrounding villages such as Giethoorn, which is known for its many bridges, you must be extra careful. Don't forget to pack yourself well. Your gloves and hat will be essential.

Kalenberg bootje huren

Sailing a boat

If you want to come sailing in Kalenberg, you can always rent a boat on site. Especially if you come outside the often busier weekends and children's holidays. It is still relatively quiet in Kalenberg. This is not a guarantee. Reserving a boat is normally, but not necessary. However, it is possible that with nice weather, even during these so-called quieter periods, it can become quite busy. We therefore recommend everyone to reserve a boat in advance.

Organized cruise from Kalenberg

Pieter Jongschaap boat tour

Tour boat de Vrijstate
Tour boat de Vrijstate

From Kalenberg they provide various day or afternoon trips through Northwest Overijssel, an area that is mainly known for flora and fauna. This area has an extensive waterway network and many sailing routes. They are happy to introduce new visitors to this versatile nature reserve. They sail around with a tour boat, called de Vrijstate,  with a capacity of 100 people.

Organized cruise from Ossenzijl
Boat tour company Tiemen Vaartjes

At Tiemen Vaartjes from Ossenzijl you can also board a cruise on a specially built flat-bottomed tour boat. Straight through the reed fields and swamp forests of the Weerribben. When the weather is nice they will take you around in an open boat, when the weather is less nice the boat is closed. This means you are always dry. From Ossenzijl a circuit is sailed via Kalenberg.

Tour boat Sylvia

The Sylvia goes to places where similar or larger tour boats are not allowed or cannot go and sails straight through the reedlands, meadows and swamp forests. They sail from early March to mid-December. Reservations can be made via 06-53784651

Organized cruise from Dwarsgracht
Cruise through the Weerribben

At Restaurant / boat rental De Otterskooi you can also board a tour in a tour boat. This cruise goes through the Weerribben. These tour boats are sailed by skilled skippers, who also have a lot to say about the origins of this peat area and its nature. You can also board from Giethoorn and then sail back to Giethoorn via Dwarsgracht.

De Otterskooi
  • Tour boat (max 40 people)

From Kalenberg to Giethoorn

9 kilometers away as the crow flies

Route from Kalenberg to Giethoorn
Route from Kalenberg to Giethoorn

Kalenberg is located approximately 9 kilometers west of Giethoorn as the crow flies. The distance between these two places can vary depending on the specific route you take. In general, you can cover the distance of 18 km by car in about 20 to 25 minutes. If you want to take a boat from Kalenberg to Giethoorn or vice versa, you should take into account a sailing time of 1.5 to 2 hours. So this could be a really nice day out on a beautiful sunny day.

By car to Giethoorn

From Kalenberg you can easily get to Giethoorn by car. You can park your car in several places in Giethoorn. Navigate to Kerkweg 35 in Giethoorn for free parking.

Cycling from Kalenberg to Giethoorn

From the center of Kalenberg it is approximately 15 kilometers by bike to Giethoorn. Bicycle rental is possible in Kalenberg. You can rent an (electric) bicycle for a day or longer. The bike ride from to Giethoorn is on paved roads. The roads are flat, so it is also easy to do with a normal bicycle.

Kalenberg to Giethoorn by taxi

You can also choose to take a taxi. You can recognize taxis by their blue license plates. You can book a taxi to Giethoorn by contacting Giethoorn taxi.

Tip of the day

Tip for a wonderful day out: rent a boat in Giethoorn or Kalenberg and sail the route via the Weerribben. In both villages you have the opportunity to moor in the center and find a terrace.

 Spend the night in Kalenberg

No large hotels or camping

B&B de Vrijstaat
B&B de Vrijstaten

Don't expect large hotels or a large campsite here. You won't find that in and around Kalenberg, but there are plenty of nice B&Bs, apartments and houses to rent. Or how about renting a houseboat? Kalenberg is ideally suited for people who want to seek peace and quiet, hear the birds chirping and enjoy nature. Here you can completely relax. Overnight accommodation is still in its infancy here. Here you will find Giethoorn camping and Giethoorn hotel as alternatives. Both nearby and you can easily spend the night here.

Hotel Het Rietershuijs

If you would like to enjoy the beautiful nature of the Weerribben for one or more days, or the interesting old towns in the area, such as Blokzijl and Ossenzijl, Hotel “Het Rietershuijs” has five recently completely renovated luxurious double rooms available. The hotel has a stately dining room and a terrace overlooking Kalenbergergracht.

Lodging concept at Joop

Joop has a unique accommodation concept in Kain, the heart of De Weerribben. All 7 rooms are inspired by the elements. Each room has its own theme.

B&B de Vrijstaten

You will find this B&B in a truly great location in Kalenberg. Here you will find peace and quiet, only broken by the sound of swans, geese and cormorants. Check the B&B de Vrijstaten website for current availability.

restaurants in Kalenberg

Few smal restaurants

Kalenberg has a few small restaurants. We list them for you:

  • Het Rietershuijs
  • Pieter Jongschaap
  • Café de Weerribben

How to come in Kalenberg?

You cannot reach Kalenberg by public transport unless you are prepared to walk for miles. Even by car it is difficult to do. For example, you have to park outside the village and continue walking to your overnight address or destination. It is much easier to reach Kalenberg with one
boat to reach. After all, it is surrounded by water. Or take the bike. The great thing about this is that you really have the feeling of going back in time.

Parking in Kalenberg

Parking your car in Kalenberg is not that easy. Especially during summer days, there are often not enough parking spaces for all tourists. The largest parking lot in the village has approximately 75 parking spaces. Navigate to Berkenlaan 12 to reach this parking lot. This parking lot is located opposite Bij Joop. You can also park at the boat rental companies, but the number of parking spaces is often not sufficient for everyone.

Nationaal park Weerribben-Wieden

What can you expect in the Weerribben-Wieden?

Bittern in Weerribben
Bittern in Weerribben

If you stay in Kalenberg or the surrounding area, you will of course go to Weerribben-Wieden National Park. Weerribben-Wieden National Park is a vast nature reserve located in the provinces of Overijssel and Flevoland. The park is known for its unique swamp landscape, waterways, reed fields, lakes and extensive meadows. Below you will find the features and highlights of the Weerribben-Wieden National Park:

  • Swamp and Reed Lands: The park is home to the largest contiguous low peat swamp in Northwest Europe. The extensive reedlands are of great ecological importance and provide a home to various plant and animal species.
  • Waterways and Lakes: The park is crossed by numerous waterways, canals and lakes. These are ideal for boat trips, canoeing and sailing. It is possible to explore the beautiful surroundings by boat and enjoy the peace and nature.
  • Flora and Fauna: In Weerribben-Wieden National Park you will find a rich variety of plants and animals. Bird watchers can spot various species of water birds here, such as bitterns and reed warblers.
  • Hiking and Biking Trails: The park offers a network of hiking and biking trails that allow visitors to explore nature on the mainland. There are several viewpoints and observation huts where you can admire nature.
  • Giethoorn: Part of the Weerribben-Wieden National Park includes the famous village of Giethoorn, also known as the "Venice of the North; the village is known for its characteristic canals, bridges and thatched farms. It is a tourist attraction and can be The summer can be very busy, but if you rent a boat and go out on the water, you can often enjoy nature in peace.
  • Visitor Centers: There are several visitor centers in the park, such as the De Wieden Visitor Center, where visitors can get information about the area, view exhibits and plan activities.
  • Activities and Excursions: In addition to walking, cycling and boating, organized excursions and activities are also regularly offered, including boat trips with guides and bird watching excursions.

Villages in the Weerribben area





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