Are you looking for the best things to do in one day in Ravenstein, The Netherlands? Then you couldn’t have come to a better place than this Ravenstein city guide. One of the places to visit in the province of Noord (North)- Brabant is the town of Ravenstein. It’s found in the south of The Netherlands, near the province of Gelderland, on the bank of the Meuse river.
Small towns are found throughout Noord (North)- Brabant and Ravenstein is one of the places to see. The fortified city of Ravenstein is great to visit, whether you’re thinking of spending 24 hours in Ravenstein, or longer. The surroundings of one of the best destinations to visit in Noord (North)- Brabant are also filled with things to do. So, trust me when I say that you’d want to discover must-sees and things to do and see in the magical town of Ravenstein. This Ravenstein travel blog will show you exactly where to go and why this is one of the cities to visit in Noord (North)- Brabant. You’re welcome.
Things to do in Ravenstein city in one day: Explore a fortified Dutch town
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One of those things that makes Ravenstein a place you should travel to in The Netherlands is its beautiful streets and buildings. As soon as you arrive in Ravenstein, you will discover a few beautiful landmarks and will understand why it’s one of the hidden gems in the province of Noord (North)- Brabant. This city blog of Ravenstein will answer all your questions from ‘Where is Ravenstein, The Netherlands’ to the must do’s and the best activities in Ravenstein. No matter which season you end up visiting Ravenstein, you will love to spend one day here.
History and facts about Ravenstein
This fortified city is located on the shores of the Meuse river in The Netherlands and currently has a little less than 3200 inhabitants. The town of Ravenstein was found by a vassal from the Duchy of Brabant. He assigned the creation of a castle on the shores of the Meuse river. It obtained city rights from Reinout van Valkenburg in 1380.
Ravenstein was part of the ‘Land van Ravenstein’, which was an independent area along the Meuse river and had two capitals: Ravenstein and Uden. In 1815, Land van Ravenstein became part of the new province of Noord (North)- Brabant in The Kingdom of The Netherlands.
Ravenstein was invaded by troops from Brabant in 1388, and in 1397 the Lord of Ravenstein was beaten and imprisoned. In 1399, a peace treaty called ‘Vrede van Ravenstein’ (peace of Ravenstein) was signed between Gelre and Brabant. Then, in 1509, Ravenstein became a fortified town with walls and bastions. But Emperor Charles V wanted them to demolished, except for two city gates.
The Land of Ravenstein has been appointed to several other owners, from Brandenburg in 1624 (during that time the fortifications were created again) to Palts-Neuburg in 1630. During that time, the Land of Ravenstein didn’t have any freedom of religion anymore. It was only after several years that Ravenstein gained its independence again. The Land of Ravenstein became a refuge area for many monasteries who fled from the Dutch Republic, as well as Catholics who crossed the borders for church services.
Het Land van Ravenstein was never a part of the Duchy of Brabant and was independent for most of its centuries. Even after 1648, when the area of ‘s-Hertogenbosch became a part of the Seven United Provinces, the Land van Ravenstein was independent. The Dutch Republic attacked The Land of Ravenstein several times, which angered the German Royals who ruled over Ravenstein.
When the French army invaded The Netherlands, the government troops withdrew. The fortifications of Ravenstein were torn down, yet once again. In 1794, the French occupiers destroyed the autonomy of the Land of Ravenstein, and it was sold to the Batavian Republic. In 1815, Ravenstein finally became a part of the newly created Kingdom of The Netherlands.
While Ravenstein was officially a part of The Netherlands, that didn’t mean that it went a lot better economically with Ravenstein. Only since the second half of the 19th century, Ravenstein was flourishing due to its railway, their location of the Meuse river and arrival of industries.
Where to stay in Ravenstein
Ravenstein isn’t a city that is home to many hotels. In fact, if you’re looking for the best accommodation in Ravenstein, there’s only one option. This hotel in Ravenstein, is the only place where you can stay in this Medieval Dutch town. Luckily, it’s a very good hotel.
Stadsherberg De Keurvorst: check rates & availability on Booking.com
Best restaurants in Ravenstein
It’s only location to get hungry after one day of exploring Ravenstein. Whether you’re looking for breakfast or lunch cafes in Ravenstein or great dinner restaurants, these are some of the best places to eat in Ravenstein. Restaurant Versaen and Restaurant ‘t Veerhuis are some of my favourite eateries in Ravenstein.
What to do in Ravenstein
Free walking tour in Ravenstein
This walking tour in Ravenstein is around 3,5 kilometres long and starts at Markstraat. From there, you will walk towards Servetstraat 1, where you can find a church that was built in 1641. This church is a Dutch Reformed and protestant church in Ravenstein and is named Garnizoenskerk. After the 80-year-war the Land of Ravenstein was a Catholic enclave, where it was allowed to be a Catholic.
However, Ravenstein did have an agreement with the Dutch state that they were allowed to have a garrison inside the fortified city of Ravenstein. The people in the garrison were mostly protestant, and they wanted their church. This was the third reformed protestant church in the province of Noord (North)- Brabant after Willemstad and Hooge Zwaluwe. Interesting to know is that the facade used to have windows, but as they were often smashed, they were bricked up in 1732.
Then walk to Brouwerijstraat and Molensingel 6, where you can have a look at the only windmill in the city of Ravenstein. This mill is called ‘De Nijverheid’ and was built in 1857. It was restored in the 1960s after it was decayed and then it was working again grinding grains until the end of the 1980s. This windmill in Ravenstein is often opened on Saturday from 14:00- 16:30.
Continue your free walking tour in Ravenstein to Landpoortstraat, Stationssingel (have a look at the canals of the fortifications of Ravenstein here), Pollekespad and then Kasteelseplaats 1. This building and the gate (also called Kasteelsepoort) is one of the remains of the in 1818 demolished Castle Ravenstein, and some of the masonries date back to the around 1360. This was also when the castle was first built, and this gate divided the city from the castle, plus was part of the fortifications in Ravenstein.
Walk to the Sint-Josephkapel, or chapel, at Sint Luciastraat 5. This chapel in Ravenstein is opened daily from 10:00- 16:00 (and sometimes 17:00). It dates back to 1875 and initially couldn’t be seen from the street. However, when the monastery in Ravenstein was torn down, the chapel got a new facade in 1905, which is since when the chapel has been visible from the street.
Then walk to Sint Luciastraat 2, where you will see the former city hall of Ravenstein which dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. It was built as a patrician house and was a notary house before it was used as a town hall. It was last restored in 1983 but has been used as the tourist information centre Ravenstein since the municipality of Ravenstein was abolished on the 1st of January 2003.
And then you’re going to the neighbouring building at Sint Luciastraat 1. This Roman Catholic church was built in Ravenstein in 1735. It was the replacement of a previous Jesuits church. What is interesting to know is that the Sint-Luciakerk was created with the income of the Ravenstein lottery. This lottery was founded with the purpose to support Catholic institutions in 1729. In the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, this lottery was forbidden. But the Land of Ravenstein wasn’t a part of this Dutch Republic as it was an independent region in The Netherlands and had religious freedom. Many Catholics from the Republic bought lottery tickets.
From 1794- 1818, the lottery had a lot of trouble due to corruption. Then, King Willem I assigned an administrator. And only at the beginning of the 20th century, Ravenstein got to manage the lottery again. It still exists, and the money is nowadays used for social and cultural purposes in Ravenstein.
Now we’re going to talk about the church. Did you know that this church was built in baroque style? Which is the only Catholic church in the Northern Netherlands that was built in this style. The reason is the fact that Ravenstein had freedom of religion, so Catholic churches were allowed to be made during centuries when it the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands there were clandestine churches.
At the time this church was built, Ravenstein was owned by the counts of Palts- Neuburg. Lord Charles III Philip, Elector Palatine, assigned this church to be made. If you look above the entrance of the church, you can see his coat of arms.
After that, you’re going to continue your Ravenstein tour to Marktstraat, Kolonel Wilsstraat, Middelstraat and Nieuwstraat. Now go to Winkelstraat, Mostaardstraat, Walstraat, Fabriekstraat and Nieuwstraat again, before going to Kolonel Wilsstraat, Walstraat, Bleek, Maasdijk and Loswal.What I love about this street in Ravenstein, is that you will have the most beautiful view of the Meuse river. And as you all should know by now: I love river views. There’s something so soothing and calming about the way the water flows and continues its way, while you see the boats pass.
Continue your Ravenstein walking tour to Maasdijk and then to Doolhof and Contre Escarpe where you will see a part of the canals and fortifications of Ravenstein again. For the final few steps of your tour through Ravenstein, you’d have to walk to Landpoortstraat and then finish one of the things to do in Ravenstein at Walstraat 20 (follow the small side path with signs).
Here you will see a former drying kiln of a leather tannery, which dates back to 1887. Have a look at the many shutters on the eastern and western part of the building. Those had to give access to the wind to flow through the first floor. On the ground floor, the skins were prepared. In 1894, it lost its function and was changed into a garden house. In 2009, it got restored and became part of a museum in Ravenstein.
Best museum in Ravenstein
Leerlooierij Museum Ravenstein (link is in Dutch) is the only museum that you can currently find in the town of Ravenstein. It’s focused on explaining the leather tannery industry in the city of Ravenstein and can be found at the final location of the free walking tour in Ravenstein that I created for you. You will discover everything about this industry, how it shaped Ravenstein and how the leather was prepared.
Visit a beer brewery in Ravenstein
If you’re a fan of beer, then I would definitely recommend you to visit this brewery in Ravenstein. Wilskracht Stadsbrouwerij Ravenstein is located next to the windmill, and can be accessed through the windmill in Ravenstein. It’s opened on, at least, Friday & Saturday 10:00- 18:00 and Sunday 13:00- 18:00. You can try some of the best Dutch craft beer in this special location in Ravenstein. It’s a must visit!
Things to do in the surroundings of Ravenstein
Explore de Maashorst nature reserve
Natuurgebied De Maashorst is one of The Netherlands most beautiful nature reserves. You can walk or cycle through this beautiful area and even spot European bison, wild horses and Taurus. You must keep your distance from the animals at all times, of course. I would recommend you to go to Natuurcentrum De Maashorst to learn more about this reserve and to get up to date cycling and walking routes for the area.
Visit the village of Megen
The small village of Megen is beautiful, as you can see by the photo below, and this town has an exceptional place in the history of the province of Noord- Brabant. Nowadays, it’s a calm and quaint Dutch village, but times have been different. Luckily, you can now enjoy many things to do in Megen. From a peaceful walk through the town and its surroundings to discovering the Meuse river, visiting a lake area nearby Megen and even exploring The Netherlands most beautiful monastery garden.
Discover the gardens in Demen
If you’re interested in gardens, gardening and getting some colourful exterior inspiration, then the ‘Tuinen in Demen‘ are great for you to visit. They have 16 yards in total, and it’s usually opened from the end of April until the beginning of September. Don’t forget to visit their tearoom for a little break!
Explore the city of Nijmegen
The city of Nijmegen is one of the oldest cities in The Netherlands and has been existing for thousands of years. Whether you’re interested in searching for the cutest little local boutiques, incredible museums, great restaurants or other fun activities, Nijmegen is the place to be and only a train ride away.
Visit the fortified town of Grave
Grave is one of those picture-perfect towns that you can find near Ravenstein. Not only is this one of the many medieval Dutch cities in the province of Noord- Brabant, but it’s also home to the cutest square in The Netherlands. Plus, there are quite a few things that you can do in Grave, which makes it very easy to spend a weekend in Ravenstein and its surroundings.
Walk in the surroundings of Ravenstein
One of my favourite things to do in Ravenstein is to go for a walk. But if you’ve already discovered Ravenstein with my free walking tour, then I would recommend you to walk along the Meuse river. Water calms me. Somehow seeing it flowing makes my heart happy. Plus, along the waterway, there’s always a bit of fresh air, which is especially lovely when you’re in Ravenstein during the warm summer days in The Netherlands.
Rent bicycles and explore the region of Ravenstein
You cannot rent bicycles in Ravenstein, but the most nearby location to rent bikes is found in the town of Wijchen. This town is 5 minutes by train from Ravenstein. From here you can start cycling in the surroundings, or you could take the bike on the train to Ravenstein so you can cycle from there (don’t forget to buy a supplement for the bike at the ticket machine on the train station).
Whether you want to cycle along the Meuse river to villages such as Demen, Dieden and Megen, or want to go more inland via Neerloon and Herpen, this area is spectacular no matter which way you’re going to.
Visit Castle Hernen
The castle of Hernen is a spectacular Dutch castle in the southern part of the province of Gelderland. Ravenstein and this castle are located near each other. The town of Ravenstein is located in the northeastern part of the province of Noord- Brabant. The Hernen Castle dates back to the middle of the 16th century. The rooms in the castle Hernen aren’t furnished, this means that there is more place for imagination and creativity. Plus, the architecture is something that will stand out when you visit this Dutch castle in Gelderland.
How to get to Ravenstein
Always check the public transportation app & website 9292.nl/en for the latest updates
From Den Bosch: To visit the city of Ravenstein as a day trip from Den Bosch, or ‘s-Hertogenbosch, you need to take a sprinter train from Den Bosch train station in the direction of Arnhem Centraal. Get out at Ravenstein train station. To get from Den Bosch to Ravenstein takes you around 24 minutes.
From Utrecht: To enjoy one day in Ravenstein from the city of Utrecht, I would recommend you to take the train from Utrecht Centraal Station in the direction of Nijmegen. From there you need to transfer to the sprinter train in the direction of Dordrecht. Get out at the train station of Ravenstein. To get from Utrecht to Ravenstein takes you around 1 hour and 25 minutes.
From Nijmegen: A perfect day trip from Nijmegen is the town of Ravenstein. If you want to visit Ravenstein from this Dutch city in the province of Gelderland, I would recommend you to take the sprinter train from Nijmegen train station in the direction of Dordrecht. Get out at Ravenstein. To get to Ravenstein from Nijmegen takes you around 16 minutes.
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As we’ve come to the end of this one day in Ravenstein article, you must’ve found many things to do in Ravenstein. As well as information on whether Ravenstein is worth visiting, what there is to see and where in The Netherlands (not Holland) Ravenstein is located. Sightseeing in the centre of Ravenstein is short but incredible. It makes you feel like you’ve stepped a few hundred years back in time but without the constant threat of invasions (which makes drinking a beer on the terrace honestly a lot better).
Whether you want to spend a weekend in Ravenstein and its surroundings to explore what it has to offer for tourism or a simple day trip, I hope that this one day Ravenstein itinerary has helped you a lot. And that you now know the places to visit, sights to discover and attractions to see. Plus, that this Ravenstein travel guide has shown you that visiting unusual places in The Netherlands is what you have to do. Ravenstein won’t disappoint you. You can thank me later. Share this post!