Veenhuizen (The Netherlands)
Welcome to Veenhuizen
Veenhuizen is a small Dutch village, situated in the north of the country in the province of Drenthe. Over the past two decades dramatic changes have taken place in the community. The village, which served as a colony for the re-education of homeless people and children, has radically changed over time to become an outstanding tourist destination, famous for its history and unique heritage. The town is also surrounded by forests, valleys and offers splendid culture and architecture. Fochteloёrveen is perfect for bike rides and is also worth visiting for its rich plant life. The connection between Veenhuizen and the surrounding countryside is very strong, dating back to the 19th century when the colonies worked the land and cultivated the wilderness.
Regeneration and revival
Following the end of its prison era, many buildings in Veenhuizen were abandoned and the local economy, which depended on the prison, collapsed causing unemployment to rise. It was decided to regenerate the local economy by promoting the history of the site and the unique character of the former prison colony. Veenhuizen is today an unusual rural tourist destination, with a variety of cultural and natural attractions. The old buildings have been given a new purpose while preserving their unique architectural styles. A good example of this is Maallust, a former grain mill and storage space. This has now been converted into a brewery and a cheese farm. The former drugstore along with the kitchen and the hospital is now a hotel and health centre. The sleeping quarters of the cotton factory have been converted into guest lodges for visitors. Several art galleries and museums have also opened which showcase the unique history of the village. Veenhuizen currently welcomes approximately 160,000 visitors each year.
- visit the Prison Museum to learn about prison life in Veenhuizen
- go walking in the surrounding forests – Roden, Norg or Drent- Friese Wold – beautiful secluded spots with some rare wildlife
- visit the Glass Museum and learn about the glass-making techniques and Dutch glass artists