Coevorden is a small city in the south of the province of Drenthe, in the Netherlands. The municipality of Coevorden also includes 37 other villages and hamlets, the largest being Dalen, Sleen, and Schoonoord.
Coevorden is one of the, if not the oldest places in Drenthe, with the first mention of its name dating back to 1036. The first charter to mention the city dates from 1148. Its name has the same meaning as Oxford (England and the Bosphorus (Turkey), meaning a river crossing for cattle, specifically cows or oxen.
The city's history is notable for its 1227 battle of Ane (near Gramsbergen, Overijssel), where Coevorden troops fended off an army from the Bishopric of Utrecht. The battle takes root in a standard conflict between fief (Otto von Lippe, bishop of Utrecht) and vassal (Rudolph of Coevoerden), but a true reason for escalation of the conflict isn't known. The battle took over 400 lives on the Utrecht side, including that of Otto von Lippe. His successor, Otto II, took over control of the city the next year, after which it was recaptured in 1230. Rudolph knew he had to negotiate to remain independent from Utrecht, but on his way to negotiations in 1230, he was captured, tortured and ultimately killed. This made him a martyr, and led to a war between Frisia and Drenthe in the following two years. The battle, ultimately, is quite similar to the Battle of the Golden Spurs, on which the independence of Flanders is built.
During the Eighty Years' War, the Dutch war of succession against Spanish overlordship, Coevorden found itself in Spanish hands between 1581 and 1592. During the siege of 1592, the city was completely wrecked, which led to a complete rebuild of the city, and vast expansions of its defensive works. Parts of these defensive works remain to this day.
During the 18th century, the city's growth came to a halt. The city, heavily dependent on trade brought in by the peat transport for which the city was a hub, stopped making a profit once peat in the region had been exported. The city, being the size it was, still held an important role as a hub for the surrounding region, but this task was increasingly being taken over by Emmen. Coevorden to this day remains fairly industrially oriented, with the Europapark industrial estate to its south, partially located within Germany being developed during the 1990s.
There are several tourist information centres in the municipality of Coevorden. The opening hours as listed below are applicable in the summer season (April-October). In the peak summer season (July and August), opening hours may be wider. On the other hand, in the winter the opening hours are more limited.
- 1 Tourist Info Coevorden, Haven 4, Coevorden, ☏ . Mon-Fri 9:30-16:30, Sat 9:30-15:00.
- 2 Tourist Info Sleen (Het Klaverblok), Bannerschultestraat 12, Sleen, ☏ . Mon-Sat 9:30-17:00.
- 3 Tourist Info Zweeloo, Aelderstraat 21A, Aalden, ☏ . Mon/Fri 10:00-16:00, Tue-Thu/Sat 10:00-14:00.
- 4 Tourist Info Gees, Dorpsstraat 47, Gees, ☏ . Mon-Sat 10:00-14:00.
- 5 Tourist Info Schoonoord, Slenerweg 4, Schoonoord, ☏ . Mon/Wed/Sat 10:00-14:00.
The main roads traversing the municipality of Coevorden are the west-east A37 motorway and the north-south N34 expressway. The A37 connects Coevorden to Hoogeveen and the A28 motorway (Groningen-Zwolle) in the west, and to the German Western Plains region in the east. The N34 connects Coevorden to Emmen and Groningen in the north, and to Hardenberg in Overijssel province in the south. The city of Coevorden can be reached from the nearest airport in Eelde in about 45 minutes, while Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport are about 1h 45m away.
There are two railway stations in the municipality of Coevorden, both along the railway from Zwolle to Emmen. 1 Coevorden railway station is in the city centre of Coevorden. Trains in both directions call twice per hour, with during rush hours an additional hourly train to Zwolle. The smaller 2 Dalen railway station is on the edge of the village of Dalen, with trains calling once per hour in both directions. Connections to the remainder of the national railway network are available in Zwolle. Just south of Coevorden, at the railway station of Hardenberg, it is possible to connect to the train to Almelo. Travelling to Coevorden from Zwolle takes about 40 minutes (€10), while the trip from Schiphol Airport takes 2 hours including a transfer in Zwolle (€23.50).
As there is only one railway in Coevorden, from many destinations in the surroundings it is easier to take a bus (also to get to one of the other villages in the municipality). In addition to Coevorden's railway station, also the bus stop in Zweeloo (3 Zweeloo bus station) serves as a minor transport hub, with several bus lines meeting there.
- Bus route 21 (1x/hour) from Assen via Aa en Hunze and Coevorden (De Kiel, Schoonoord, Noord-Sleen, Sleen, Erm) to Emmen. Not to Coevorden city.
- Bus route 22 (1x/hour) from Assen via Beilen and Westerbork to Coevorden (Zweeloo). Not to Coevorden city.
- Bus route 26 (1x/hour) from Emmen via Klazienaveen and Schoonebeek to Coevorden (Coevorden city and railway station).
- Bus route 27 (1x/hour) from Hoogeveen via Coevorden (Geesbrug, Zwinderen, Gees, Oosterhesselen, Aalden, Zweeloo) to Emmen. Not to Coevorden city.
- Bus route 29 (1-2x/hour) from Zwolle via Dedemsvaart and Slagharen to Coevorden (railway station).
- Bus route 33 (1x/hour) from Hoogeveen to Coevorden (Nieuwlande, Dalerpeel, Steenwijksmoer, Coevorden city and railway station). Demand-repsonsive, i.e. you have to call in advance.
Bus routes 21, 27, and 33 as mentioned above can be used for travelling between the villages in the municipality of Coevorden. In addition, bus route 25 is a local line from Coevorden city via Dalen, Wachtum, Oosterhesselen, Meppen, and Aalden to Zweeloo. The bus runs once per hour, and except for during rush hours, it is demand-responsive (i.e. you have to call in advance). During weekends, the bus route is only operational on the section between Coevorden railway station and the Plopsa theme park in Dalen.
- 1 Coevorden Castle, Kasteel 29. An 11th-century castle in the middle of the city itself. The castle houses a hotel and restaurant nowadays but is still a notable sight of Coevorden.
- 2 Stedelijk Museum (Drenthe's Veste), Haven 4, ☏ . Tu-Sa: 9:30-17:00; Su: 12:00-17:00. Housed in a monumental building in the centre of the city, the Stedelijk Museum documents the history of Coevorden. It features several notable items, including a maquette of Coevorden's defensive works, as well as the iron helmet worn by Cal von Rabenhaupt, who managed to win the city from Spanish hands within an hour on December 30th, 1672.
- 3 Openluchtmuseum Ellert en Brammert, Tramstraat 73, Schoonoord, ☏ . 9:00 - 18:00 (admissions before 17:00). An open air museum documenting much of Southeast Drenthe's cultural history. The museum itself is named after two giants, said to roam the Ellertsveld, where the museum is located, some four hundred years ago. Within the relatively small museum, you will find reconstructions of a Saxon farmhouse, a rural school, jailhouse, toll house and sod house. Age 4-11: €5; Age 12+: €8.50.
Coevorden is on the route of the Pieterpad, the most famous long distance walking trail of the Netherlands. The sixth stage ends in the village of Sleen; the seventh stage runs entirely within the municipality of Coevorden, from Sleen to the city of Coevorden; and the eighth stage starts there.
- 1 Plopsa Indoor Coevorden, Reindersdijk 57, Dalen, ☏ . 10:30 - 17:00. Dutch counterpart to Plopsa Indoor Hasselt and Plopsaland De Panne, this too is an indoor theme park tailored to young children. Children <85 cm free of charge; ≥ 85 ≤ 99 cm or age >70: €12.50; >1m: €22.50.
|Routes through Coevorden|
|END ← Hardenberg ←||S N||→ Emmen → Groningen|
|Pieterburen ← Schoonloo ←||N S||→ Hardenberg → Sint-Pietersberg|