Netherlands // The eastern Netherlands //

Nationaal Park de Hoge Veluwe

One of the region’s most popular attractions, the Nationaal Park de Hoge Veluwe is an expanse of sandy heaths, lakes, dunes and woodland crisscrossed by cycle trails, with a number of hides from which you can observe its varied fauna. The park was formerly the private estate of the Kröller-Müllers: born near Essen in 1869, Hèléne Kröller-Müller came from a wealthy family who made their money in the manufacture of blast furnaces, while her husband, the ever-so-discreet Anton came from a Rotterdam shipping family. Super-rich, the couple had a passionate desire to leave a grand bequest to the nation: a mixture of nature and culture, which would, Hèléne felt, “be an important lesson when showing the inherent refinement of a merchant’s family living at the beginning of the century”. She collected the art, Anton the land and its animals – the moufflons (wild sheep) were, for example imported from Corsica – and in the 1930s ownership of the whole estate was transferred to the nation on the condition that a museum was built inside the park. The resulting Kröller-Müller Museum opened in 1938 with Hèléne acting as manager until her death in 1939, and a Sculpture Garden was added a few years later.

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