Park Gravenrode (The Netherlands)
With rolling hills and rising landscapes, the region is quite a contrast to the rest of Holland and its beauty is just beginning to be untapped.
Whenever a park includes the largest indoor ski village in the world, it is bound to attract curious visitors. The skiing conditions at Snowworld rival those of pistes throughout Europe, but without all the fuss. The ski village includes state-of-the-art accommodation and activities for the entire family.
For nature lovers, there are the ultra-modern and astounding Mondo Verde gardens. The gardens rest on the Limburg region's hillsides, providing unmatched majestic views. Not far from the gardens is the Gaiapark Kerkrade Zoo, one of the most forward-thinking zoos in Holland.
Two beautifully restored natural settings include the Stijthagerbeekdal and the Anstellerbeekdal. These now-thriving landscapes were once two of the most-polluted leftovers from the mining industry.
What makes Park Gravenrode special?
When local Dutch authorities came together with a plan to revive the region, they knew it was going to be a lot of work. Years of neglect and pollution left the area in ruins, but their perseverance has made this park truly extraordinar
In the mid-eighties, the deteriorated Erenstein Castle was completely renovated into a magnificent restaurant. A farmhouse nearby was turned into a classic hotel. Then the Dutch addressed the park's environment. After tireless efforts on their part, the park now is as lush, colourful and vibrant as ever.
Park Gravenode is a model example on how man has the ability to turn back the hands of time for a region to when it was splendid and pure.
What makes it sustainable?
Returning to the dark period before when the region was a mining area is something the locals never want to see return. Historical farmhouses, castles and building were left to crumble before efforts were made to restore the park.
The Dutch are well aware of their past as well-thought measures have been instilled to keep Park Gravenrode moving in the right direction. State of the art entertainment like Snowworld pushes the boundaries of what's modern, while refurbished local buildings ties the region together with its once positive past.
What to look for in:
- Spring: Blooming flowers blanketing the hillsides
- Summer: Skiers racing down slopes in the indoor village
- Fall: Colourful leaves falling quietly to the ground
- Winter: Guests sipping hot coffee at the Erenstein Castle
Highlights of Park Gravenrode
- Waking up in what was an ancient farmhouse
- Having a snowball fight in the indoor ski village
- Watching blissful animals for hours at the zoo
- Beginning a long bike ride at sunrise