Discover Vollenhove, a historic town in the northwest of Overijssel that welcomes its visitors with a combination of history and natural beauty. The town is characterized by churches and a castle (Toutenburg) and has a rich history. Vollenhove is located amid a tranquil environment of water and green landscapes. Explore the timeless streets, take part in local events and experience the unique appeal of Vollenhove. This article invites you to explore history, nature and community of this wonderful destination. If you are curious about what there is to do and see in Vollenhove and just beyond, then read on.

Visit Vollenhove 

Vollenhove then and now

Former Zuiderzee town

Historic city center of Vollenhove
Historic city center of Vollenhove

Vollenhove arose as a settlement in the Middle Ages along the banks of the former Zuiderzee. In the fourteenth century it obtained city rights, which testified to its growing economic importance. During the Hanseatic period, trade flourished in Vollenhove, making it a significant player in this economic partnership.

Toutenberg Castle

In the fifteenth century, Toutenburg Castle was founded as an episcopal residence, and it remains a historical landmark in the city today. The Grote or Sint-Nicolaaskerk, dating from the same period, embodies the religious influences that have influenced life in Vollenhove over the centuries.

Bit of history lesson

The history of Vollenhove is also reflected in the changes in the region's water management, with reclamations and dike constructions that have shaped the relationship with the water. Modern traditions such as the annual flower parade bring color to the streets and serve as a contemporary celebration of heritage and creativity.

4300 inhabitants

Since 2001, Vollenhove, with approximately 4,300 inhabitants, has been part of the municipality of Steenwijkerland and is
it is the largest town in this municipality after Steenwijk.

Things to do in Vollenhove

Why you should go to Vollenhove?

Flower parade of Vollenhove
Flower parade of Vollenhove

Vollenhove is an excellent destination for a weekend getaway, especially for people looking for a combination of history, nature and a relaxed atmosphere. Here are some reasons why Vollenhove can be a nice destination:

  • Historical Charm: The historic buildings, including Toutenburg Castle and the Grote or Sint-Nicolaaskerk, add a special charm to the city. Stroll through the old streets and discover the rich history.
  • Flower Parade: If you are lucky enough to visit Vollenhove during the annual flower parade on the last Saturday of August, you will witness colorful floats brightening up the streets. It is a lively and festive tradition that attracts people from far and wide.
  • Pentecost: If you are near Vollenhove around Pentecost, be sure to pay it a visit. The sailing season opens on the Pentecost weekend and there are many festivities such as a fair, a fair and various walking and cycling tours.
  • Natural Environment: The proximity of nature reserves such as De Wieden and De Weerribben offers the opportunity for relaxing walks or bike rides in nature. The serene landscapes are a welcome change.
  • Small Community Atmosphere: Vollenhove has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, typical of smaller communities. This can make the weekend getaway a relaxing and authentic experience.
  • Water activities: Located near the Zwarte Meer, Vollenhove offers opportunities for water sports enthusiasts. Whether it's boating, fishing or just enjoying the water view, there are several activities to enjoy.
  • Local Events and Markets: Depending on the season, you may come across local markets or events, where you can get acquainted with the local culture and products. Check the local website for the latest news.

Whether you are interested in history, natural beauty or simply want to relax in atmospheric surroundings, Vollenhove offers a diverse and enjoyable experience for a short trip.

Things to do in Vollenhove area

  • Rent a boat or take a boat trip in Giethoorn
  • The gondola rides from Dwarsgracht, Belt Schutsloot or Giethoorn are worthwhile.
  • Visit De Koloniën van Weldadigheid, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2021. See more about De koloniën van Weldadigheid 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 Proefkolonie 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.

Active in Vollenhove area

Cycling around Vollenhove


One of the ways to discover Vollenhove 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. Vollenhove 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 vollenhove2wielers.nl.

SUP in the Weerribben


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 the Weerribben


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 bootverhuurvollenhove.nl. Book by telephone on 0527-241378


Ice-skating from Vollenhove


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.

Rent a boat in Vollenhove

Sailing a boat

If you want to come sailing in Vollenhove, 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 Vollenhove. 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.

Boat tour from Kalenberg
Pieter Jongschaap boat tour company

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 with a capacity of 100 people.

Boat tour from Ossenzijl
Boat tour company Tiemen Vaartjes

Organized cruise through the Weerribben
Organized cruise through the Weerribben

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

Boat tour from Dwarsgracht

Boat tour in De 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 one from Giethoorn and then sail back to Giethoorn via Dwarsgracht.

De Otterskooi
  • Tour boat (max 40 people)

From Vollenhove to Giethoorn

10 kilometers away as the crow flies

Route from Vollenhove to Giethoorn
Route from Vollenhove to Giethoorn

If you are in Vollenhove, it is of course very nice to go to the Venice of the North for a day: Giethoorn. By car it takes about 16 - 25 minutes to travel from Vollenhove to Giethoorn or vice versa. You can get there by bike in about 45-55 minutes (15 km), depending on how fast you cycle and whether your bike has pedal assistance. When you are in Giethoorn, rent a whisper boat and enjoy the beautiful Park Weerribben-Wieden.

By car to Giethoorn

From Vollenhove 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 Vollenhove it is approximately 15 kilometers by bike to Giethoorn. Bicycle rental is possible in Vollenhove at vollenhove2wielers.nl. 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.

Vollenhove 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 Vollenhove and sail the route via the Weerribben. In both villages you have the opportunity to moor in the center and grab a terrace.

 Stay over in Vollenhove

No large hotels in Vollenhove

Don't expect large hotels or loads of campsites here. You won't find them in and around Vollenhove, but there are plenty of nice B&Bs, apartments and houses to rent. Overnight stays are not in their infancy here. Here you will find Giethoorn camping and Giethoorn hotel as alternatives. Both in the area and you can easily spend the night here.

Hotel Oude Ruitenborch

Centuries ago, Vollenhove was called the city of palaces, partly because so many nobles lived there. Hotel OldRuitenborgh is such a construction project from that time. It is located in the middle of a beautiful English landscape garden, which was created in the early 19th century and recently restored. Hotel OldRuitenborgh has 14 extremely stylish rooms and various reception and meeting rooms.

Holiday park 't Akkertien

This holiday park is located on the edge of Vollenhove. The campsite has camper pitches, tourist camping pitches, a chalet park and luxurious group accommodation. They even have a helicopter where you can spend the night. There is an indoor swimming pool at the campsite. There is free WiFi for guests throughout the site.

restaurants in Vollenhove

Couple of small restaurants

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

  • Restaurant robuust Vollenhove
  • Restaurant Mekong
  • Pizzeria en steakhouse lama
  • Restaurant de Herberg
  • Lunchroom de Haare

Parking in Vollenhove

Parking your car in Vollenhove is very easy. If you come for your daily shopping, it is best to park your car in the large car park between Clarenberglaan and Voorpoort. This parking lot is easiest to find via Clarenberglaan. For long-term parking in Vollenhove, it is best to go to Kerkplein: park your car in the parking lot along the street ''Aan Zee''.

National park Weerribben-Wieden

What can you expect in the Weerribben-Wieden?

Beautiful kingfisher in the Weerribben
Beautiful kingfisher in the Weerribben

If you stay in Vollenhove 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 nearby De Weerribben


Sint Jansklooster



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