One of the cities to visit in Gelderland is Batenburg. This small Dutch town is everything you can wish for. It’s dreamy, picturesque and located in a beautiful natural area. Spending one day in Batenburg is a perfect idea if you ask me. From cool activities to interesting landmarks: Batenburg is filled with things to see. There is only a tiny bit of tourism in Batenburg, but nothing to be afraid of.
Now, it’s definitely not a big city, by any means. In fact, Batenburg is more of a village. Most people travel to Batenburg for its castle ruins. But there are so many more places to see in and around Batenburg in the province of Gelderland, as well as Noord- Brabant. This Batenburg city guide will show you the hidden gems in this beautiful region in The Netherlands, plus precisely what to do in both Batenburg and its surroundings. Enjoy one of the romantic places to visit in The Netherlands and one of the things to do in Gelderland.
Things to do in one day in Batenburg, The Netherlands
In this Batenburg travel blog, you will discover one of the places you must visit in the province of Gelderland. From what to see in Batenburg to things to do. Admiring this small village in the centre of The Netherlands is a must. If you’re thinking of spending 24 hours in Batenburg, then I can assure you that you’re going to love it. A visit to Batenburg is always a good idea. Sightseeing is short but incredible, and the view of the surrounding areas is a beautiful sight from the dyke in front of Batenburg.
History & facts about Batenburg
Batenburg is such an interesting town. It doesn’t even have a population of 700 inhabitants, but it’s one of the oldest cities in the province of Gelderland. Now, you might ask ‘Why is Batenburg a city if it’s so small?’. That’s because Batenburg was assigned city rights centuries ago. But we will go more in dept of that in a few paragraphs from now.
The city, or rather village, of Batenburg, is found in the region Land van Maas en Waal, or the Land of the Meuse and Waal rivers. It is part of the municipality of Wijchen and is found west of that town on the Meuse river. The population of Batenburg is around 635 people, which is why most people would call it a village. However, Batenburg obtained city rights in 1349. But, people suspect that these rights were simply reaffirmed and that Batenburg actually gained city rights around the year 1000.
Batenburg was ruled by the Lords of Batenburg, who ruled under the thumb of the German Emperor. While the village of Batenburg was found on the border between the Duchy of Gelre and the Duchy of Brabant, Batenburg belonged to none of these powerful Dutch regions.
Cool to know is the Batenburg had their coins at the beginning of the 17th century. These were recreated all over Europe but didn’t have a good reputation because the quality of the coins sucked. Lord Maximiliaan van Bronckhorst-Batenburg-Steyn was the last one of the house with his coin.
It is said that Batenburg was a lot bigger than it is nowadays. However, a big part of the city was destroyed during a city fire in the 14th or 15th century. This was never rebuilt again. Then during the 80-year-war, the town of Batenburg was also heavily damaged by another city fire.
What’s also interesting is that until 1878, on the crossing of Grootestraat and Kruisstraat, a sort of legal stone was found. It was called ‘Blauwe Steen’, which was a thick block of granite of around 75 centimetres thick which comes from the Eiffel region in Germany. People say that until about 1800, they would tie the coffin of people who had a debt to the stone. After the debt was paid off, the funeral could take place. You can still find it on the corner of the crossing.
But that wasn’t the only thing that this stone was for. If you were accused of theft, arson or slander, you were walking around the stone three times. When no one of the family, friends or bystanders wanted to pay a deposit, he or she went straight to prison.
The town of Batenburg is a protected cityscape, which is one of the many in the province of Gelderland. You will be able to see tons of beautiful buildings and streets in Batenburg. Both the churches in Batenburg are dedicated to Victor of Marseilles.
During the French occupation in The Netherlands, Batenburg became a municipality which lasted until the 1st of January 1984. That’s when it became a part of the municipality of Wijchen. This municipality uses the coat of arms of Batenburg.
Where to stay in Batenburg
I’m only aware of the existence of two accommodations in Batenburg. And both are equally as cool. And they are also some of the most extraordinary locations to stay in The Netherlands. At this place to stay in Batenburg, you have the choice to stay in a cabin, or the Dutch farmhouse. It’s called Vakantieboerderij ‘t Kuyperke, and you will be completely rested when you’re leaving this beautiful place.
At another spot in Batenburg, you can stay just outside the ruins of castle Batenburg. This holiday home in Batenburg offers a spectacular view on Batenburg and its surrounding areas, but most of all, on the ruins.
Best restaurants in Batenburg
There is one restaurant in Batenburg, and it ultimately brings you back in time. As soon as you enter it, or sit on their cosy terrace, you start to relax. Whether you’re looking to eat your lunch or dinner in Batenburg or want to go for a refreshing drink, Uitbaeterij De Viersprong is the place to be.
Things to do in Batenburg
Free walking tour in Batenburg
We will start our tour in Batenburg at some of the most beautiful looking Castle ruins in The Netherlands, though a complete castle would’ve been better. The French destroy Kasteel Batenburg in 1794, which is a damn shame for plenty of reasons. Castle Batenburg was one of the older Dutch castles in The Netherlands. The first time members of the lineage of Batenburg were written about was around 1080. It’s expected that the castle is built around the 12th century or even earlier. They had a lot of power due to estates and the castle Batenburg which was located on the border of Brabant and Gelre. Their influence didn’t last long, as the lineage of Batenburg became extinct in the 13th century.
But by the marriage of Johanna Batenburg and Willem I van Bronckhorst- Batenburg, the estates and the castle were then in the hands of the Bronkhorst lineage. This lineage was in a never-ending conflict with the nobles of Heeckerens. That was also the time when the castle had suffered quite some attacks due to negotiations.
In 1408, another member of the van Bronckhorst lineage mortgaged the castle to his brother-in-law Jan van Berlair. He then pledged the castle to Anton van Brabant, who used it in the battle between Gelre and Brabant. Remember, Batenburg castle was found in Gelre, so the fact that Anton van Brabant (who was a duke of Brabant) owned this castle in Gelre was not a good thing. That’s why Gijsbert van Bronckhorst reconquered the castle of Batenburg in 1413.
After that, another period of being besieged came for Batenburg. For instance, it was heavily damaged during the Siege of Grave. After Johanna van Bronckhorst married Johan van Horne in 1630, the estate and the castle went to the Duke of Horne in 1641. Then in 1701, Isabella Justine van Horne married to Duke Ernst Willem van Bentheim- Steinfurt. Which then changed the ownership to the Earls of Bentheim and Steinfurt, which was the case until 1945.
After looking at the ruins of Batenburg, you will walk around the canal of the castle ruins and continue to the Hoppenhofstraat, Stadswal and then Kruisstraat 15. This is a 17th or 18th-century farm with a so-called ‘wolfsdak’. This is a saddle roof, covered with tiles and reed, and the edges of the short sides are tapered. Then at Kerkstraat 11, you can find another Dutch farmhouse, which dates back to the 16th or 17th century.
Then you will walk to Kruisstraat 10, which is where you can find a farm with a stable attached to the house, this one dates back to the 17th century. Continue your walk to Molendijk 3. This is the Sint Victorkerk, which was built in Neo-Gothic style between 1873 and 1875. The reason why this church could be made was because of donations of a farmer and his mother. This family lived in Lienden, which is a Dutch hamlet nearby Batenburg. The story goes that the church is built on the dyke, so that this family could see the Sint Victorkerk from Lienden.
Now, continue your free walking tour in Batenburg to Kloosterstraat and then Kerkstraat 9, where you will spot another 17th-century farm. Then go to Kruisstraat 7, where you can admire the other (and way older) church of Batenburg. The Oude Sint-Victorkerk is a Dutch Reformed church and dates back to the 13th century. It became a collegiate church at the request of Dirk II van Bronckhorst in 1443. This also gave the church jus patronatus, which is the right to grant privileges and obligations to someone. This was given and asked from the other neighbouring towns, such as Horssen and Maasbommel. In 1507, even more, privileges arrived who were given to the church by Karel van Gelre.
It’s said that the first-ever church in Batenburg was dedicated to St. Willibrord, as they thought that he had converted one of the Lords of Batenburg to Christianity. However, during the Middle Ages, the church of Batenburg and the church in the German city of Xanten created a strong bond. This is the reason why the patron of Xanten, Saint Victor, is also the patron of Batenburg and why the churches are both dedicated to St. Victor.
A big part of the church was lost during the 80-year-war. In 1566, it was plundered by Herman van Bronckhorst, and Prince Maurits of Orange bombed the church in 1600. The church was rebuilt, and renovated, during the 80-year-war and construction of the ship finished in 1612. In the 19th century, the tower and the western part of the church were separated from the rest of the church. The northern part was turned into a classroom. During the Second World War, this church was a hiding place for Orthodox Jews. They were hiding in the attic during church services, at night they slept in the school and during the day they were in the consistory of the church.
Then continue your walk to Kerkstraat 1, which is a 16th-century farmhouse. Now walk to Stadswal 4, which is a 17th or 18th-century farmhouse, with again a ‘wolfsdak’. And continue to walk to Stadswal 7, where you can find a plastered house from the 18th century. After that, you will go to Touwslagersbaan and Grootestraat 6. This beautiful building is a manor house from the beginning of the 19th century.
At Grootestraat 13, you can see a farm from the Late Middle Ages, which is called Die Munte. And at the neighbouring house of Grootestraat 15, you will find another farm from the Late Middle Ages. Then, at Molendijk 1, you can see the former rectory of the Roman-Catholic church of St. Vincent. After that, you will walk towards the only windmill in Batenburg at Molendijk 15.
At this mill, farmers were forced to grind their grains here for centuries. In 1531, the Lord of Batenburg obtained the right to built a windmill, which was placed just outside the city of Batenburg. People call it a dwangmolen, or forced mill, as farmers from Batenburg and the surrounding areas didn’t have a choice but to grind it here. A lot of valuable information about this mill was lost when Castle Batenburg was set on fire when the French occupied more parts of The Netherlands in 1795. It was last renovated in 1996. The current windmill is set to come from the 18th century. You can visit this windmill every Wednesday from 13:30- 17:00.
Then you will walk on the little path back to Batenburg. Via Molendijk and Veerstraat you will arrive in the small harbour of Batenburg. If you were planning on taking the little ferry to Demen, this is the place to be.
Visit the Castle ruins of Batenburg
Of course, the highlight of Batenburg is to explore the castle ruins in this Dutch city. The ruins of Batenburg can only be visited on a guided tour. Generally, from April until October every second Sunday of the month, this ruin in The Netherlands will be opened. It’s run with volunteers, so it sometimes happens that there are not enough and that it won’t open. But, please take the gamble, because this area is beautiful to visit anyway.
One spectacular part of this castle is their dungeons. Trust me, you’re happy that you’re living in the year 2020 in The Netherlands, and not during those times. During the time that the ruins of Batenburg are opened, you can also visit the windmill and a few other places that are usually not opened up often for visitors.
If you speak and can understand spoken Dutch, then I have an extra cool tip for you. Every year in June and July, there are theatre performances in the Batenburg castle.
Enjoy the Batenburgse Dag
Every last Sunday of July, you can visit Batenburg for the Batenburgse Dag. This is one of those fun events, where you can buy things at markets and see old, Dutch crafts. Plus, it’s held on the grounds of the Batenburg ruins!
Things to do in the surroundings of Batenburg
Visit the fortified village of Megen
One of the best things that you can do in the surroundings of Batenburg is to visit the village of Megen. In fact, I’ve crossed the Meuse river by the small ferry from Batenburg to Demen. From there, I went on a walk to explore the small town of Megen. This little boat sails between May and the beginning of September, but not daily. And you can cross with either your bike or on foot. The first boat from Batenburg leaves at 10:00 and the last at 17:30. Make sure you have some money with you, as it’s (obviously) not free to cross. But it will only cost you one euro or so.
Megen is found in the province of Noord- Brabant, so when you cross from Batenburg to Demen, you’re entering a different province. The city, or actually village as it’s very small, of Megen has quite a few things to do. From visiting one of the most beautiful monastery gardens in The Netherlands to exploring a beautiful lake district nearby.
Explore the Gardens of Appeltern
The Netherlands largest garden idea park is the perfect place for you to visit if you want to get some inspiration and new ideas for your, or someone else’s, garden. I love gardens. I adore the space, the flowers, plants and designs. If you like this too, then you can’t go wrong with visiting Appeltern. With more than forty different gardens, I can guarantee that there will be some fresh ideas that you can bring back home. The Tuinen van Appeltern are found not too far from Batenburg and can be visited as a great day trip.
Discover the fortified town of Ravenstein
Batenburg is an old town, and in this region, there are a lot of historic and fortified Dutch cities. Back in the days’ fortifications and castles were a necessity, luckily it’s a lot safer to walk through them today. There’s no need to watch your back in case some Lord his army comes to take over the town your visiting (knock on wood, I hope this won’t make it into ‘that didn’t age well’ meme lists).
Ravenstein is one of the stunning Dutch fortified cities that you can find near Batenburg. It’s filled with idyllic streets to wander through, cosy restaurants and the most beautiful buildings. Visiting Ravenstein as a day trip is more than worth it.
Walk in the surroundings of Batenburg
Liedense Waard natuurgebied
This is one of the prettiest areas near Batenburg. It’s found next down the Molendijk, on the riverside. This place is filled with birds and also has a birdwatching hut. This area is newly developed into a natural area. A side-channel from the Meuse river was dug in flood plains. So that during the periods where the water in the Meuse is high, the extra water can flow through another channel further into the floodplains. This will turn the area into partly swamp, a meadow with rare flowers, forests and biodiverse grasslands.
Laakse Bos natuurgebied
The Laakse bos is the only nature reserve in this area that is filled with forests. So this is why you will find a lot of birds here that you won’t find anywhere else, as they have a hiding space. Interesting to know is that this forest area was part of Castle Batenburg in the early days. The entrance to the Laakse Bos is at the Laaksestraat in Batenburg.
Walk the Vennenpad near Wijchen
Just south-east of the town of Wijchen, you can walk the Vennenpad. This short hiking route in The Netherlands will guide you through and around one of the most special natural areas in the country: Overasseltse-en Haterste vennen. It’s a beautiful walk of around 13 kilometres and starts at several places.
Walk one of the dykes in The Netherlands
One of the other great walks in The Netherlands is to follow dykes. Dykes are everywhere in The Netherlands, but not everywhere are the walking routes as beautiful as in Gelderland, you can also cycle this route by the way. Start in the town of Boven-Leeuwen and walk on the Waalbanddijk until it stops just above the town of Deest.
Cycle in the area of Batenburg
Whether you want to cycle along the Meuse river in the direction of Megen, or Ravenstein, you will find perfect cycling routes everywhere. One minute you’re cycling on a high dyke, which wanders through the river deltas, and the next you’re entering one of the many beautiful Dutch hamlets in The Netherlands. You cannot rent bikes in the town of Batenburg, but you can do so in Wijchen at Smulders Fietsen.
Visit a tin factory in The Netherlands
If you’re interested in learning more about how tin is being worked with traditionally in The Netherlands, then this is a great place to visit. You can go on a tin factory tour to explore more of crafts in The Netherlands. You do have to email them if you’d want to go on a tour. They make beautiful and exclusive pieces from tin, so if you were looking for a cool Dutch souvenir, then this is certainly not a place to skip. It’s found in the town of Alphen.
Enjoy Galerie Sous Terre
If you’re interested in art, then this cannot miss on your The Netherlands bucket list. They have a sculpture park of 30.000 square metres. I mean, yeah. Besides that, at this cool gallery in The Netherlands, you can find a big exhibition space and more than 3000 works of art. Sous-Terre is found in the town of Lithoijen.
Pumping station de Tuut
In the town of Appeltern, famous for its gardens, you can also find Stoomgemaal De Tuut. This museum in Appeltern can be visited from May until October Tuesday until Sunday from 11:00-16:00 and from November until April from Tuesday until Friday. This pumping station museum in The Netherlands will show you why this is such a unique location, why the pumping station is important, the history of the area and the station and plenty of more. Having a translating tool on your phone is recommended.
Discover the city of Nijmegen
One of the oldest cities in The Netherlands is Nijmegen. And Nijmegen is such a great city to visit in the province of Gelderland. It’s filled with museums, incredible cafes and located on the Waal river with amazing beaches. Nijmegen is also home to the four days march and one of The Netherlands longest (and best) shopping streets. Honestly, spending one day in Nijmegen is the least you should do.
Taste some good beer at Bierbrouwerij Oijen
In the small town of Oijen, you can enjoy some of the best Dutch craft beer in The Netherlands. Oijens bier, named after the town, is brewed here since 1989. And the best part? You can visit the brewery, go for a tasting or simply sit on their terrace and enjoy the sun rays for as long as they last. They also have a great restaurant. So in conclusion, you have good beer and fantastic food. It truly doesn’t get better than this.
When you’re in Oijen anyway, I would recommend you to visit nature reserve De Hemelrijkse Waard. It’s a newly constructed natural area and was finished in 2017. It’s as big as 450 football fields (for my U.S.A peeps: I’m talking about real football here, not handegg). There’s a watching tower at the Oijense Benedendijk in Oijen.
Enjoy a visit to the cute Dutch town of Grave
Grave is precisely what we would name ‘klein, maar fijn’ in Dutch, or something along the lines of ‘small, but great’. And that’s exactly what the city of Grave is. Grave is also a city because they obtained city rights centuries ago, but just as Batenburg is more of a village. It’s quite a bit bigger than Batenburg, though.
Grave is found on the edge of one of The Netherlands most significant rivers: the Meuse. It has a protected cityscape, which is logical if you look at the photo below: It’s pretty cute. The town of Grave is filled with beautiful streets and quite a lot of cool shops and galleries. Visiting Grave is always a good idea.
How to get to Batenburg
If you’d want to visit Batenburg right now, you cannot visit it by public transportation as the small bus doesn’t run yet, as it’s volunteers that are pensioners that are driving these buses. When things are back to normal again, you’d have to go to the city of Nijmegen and from there take a train to the station of Wijchen, from where the bus to Batenburg normally goes. I’d recommend you to check 9292.nl/en for the current updates.
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Other Gelderland travel blogs and guides you’ll love
I hope that this Batenburg city blog has given you a lot of information on how to spend one day in Batenburg and its surroundings. Now you’ve seen how much there is to do in this region in Gelderland in The Netherlands. It’s filled with relaxing places to visit, and you can perfectly experience the Dutch countryside.
The Batenburg itinerary is filled with must do’s and sees. And after you’ve visited this area, it will leave you wanting to see more. I can’t blame you; it’s spectacular here. Whether you’d want to spend a calming weekend in Batenburg, The Netherlands, or if you’re going to see as many nearby destinations in this country as you can, Batenburg is the perfect starting point.
Do remember that Batenburg is not found in the Holland region, but in the province of Gelderland, which you should know if you read the article. So now you can answer the questions ‘where is Batenburg, The Netherlands’, as well as ‘is Batenburg worth visiting’. There are not many sights to see in Batenburg, but there is enough to enjoy a visit to one of the best places to visit in Gelderland. I hope that you’ve loved reading this Batenburg travel guide and that you will add these attractions to your The Netherlands to-do list. Share this post!!
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