Assen Tourist Attractions
Assen, capital of the province of Drenthe, lies in beautiful wooded country at the junction of two inland waterways, the Drenthse Hoofdvaart and the Noord-Willemskanaal. It became an independent commune only in 1807 and received its municipal charter from King Louis Bonaparte in 1809. Thereafter it rapidly developed into the principal town in Drenthe and an important junction for inland shipping. The population rose from only 600 in 1809 to over 13,000 at the beginning of the 20th century, and since then has more than tripled. The Netherlands Prize for motorcycle racing is competed for annually on the racetrack near Assen during the Dutch TT. Assen is also the host for the Dutch Open Dance Championships each November. Unlike other provincial capitals in the Netherlands, Assen has no historic buildings, having been an insignificant village until the 19th century, with no great past to look back on.
Assen has one sight that should not be missed, the Provincial Museum / Drents Museum at Brink 1 and 5, housed in the former Provinciehuis and the Ontvangershuis. Attached to the Provinciehuis are the Drostehuis (1774-78) and the abbey church (1662; enlarged 1817). The intermediate block was built by P. J. H. Cuypers in 1885. The museum has an outstanding collection of weapons, implements, pottery and other objects of the Stone and Bronze Ages, including human bodies preserved in bogs. All these objects were found in the immediate surroundings of the town.
Adjoining the Assen Provincial Museum is the neo-Gothic Gouvernement, on the site of a convent of Cistercian nuns dissolved at the Reformation, of which there remain only the church (now part of the Town Hall) and part of the 13th century cloister.
The superb rooms of the Ontvangershuis (Tax-Collector's House), which have been preserved in their original style, give a good impression of the way of life of a provincial official in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Hondsrug - Megalithic Tombs
A rewarding excursion from Assen is to the Hondsrug, a low ridge of hills to the east and southeast of the town. In this area more than 50 megalithic tombs (hunebedden) of the Stone and Bronze Ages, belonging to the TRB culture, have been found. The Papeloze Kerk tomb, between the villages of Sleen and Schoonoord, is particularly worth visiting; it has largely been restored to its original condition and has been made accessible for visitors. The largest hunebed in Drenthe, which has been known since 1685, lies between Bronneger and Borger.
Radio Telescope, Hooghalen
Near Hooghalen is a WW II deportation camp with a museum and memorials. In the immediate vicinity of Hooghalen is a radio telescope. There is another at Dwingeloo.
South of Assen, at Hooghalen, is Kamp Westerbork, originally established in 1938 as a reception camp for Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria and used by the German occupying forces as a transit camp for the deportation of Jews. This dark chapter in history is commemorated by a memorial, some twisted railroad lines and the buffers at the end of the line.
Address: Oosthalen 8, Hooghalen, Drenthe 9414 TG, Netherlands
Opening hours: Mar 1 to Oct 31: 10am-5pm; Sun: 1pm-5pm; Sat: 1pm-5pm
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), New Year's Eve (Dec 31), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in EUR: Adult €5.00, Child 8-18 €2.50
Useful tips: Extended hours on weekends in July and August.
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
West of Hooghalen in the Assen area is the village of Orvelte, which has been rebuilt as it was in 1830, so that much of the village is now a lived-in open-air museum. Here visitors can see farmhouses of traditional Saxon type which are entered through the Tolhuis (toll-booth), a large village shop, a miller's house and various workshops. In some of the workshops local craft products (pottery, hand-carved domestic implements and utensils) are on sale. There are also a number of painters' studios.
To the north of Assen flows the Drenthse Aa, a system of several small streams which meander over a wide area.
More on PlanetWare