Rivierenland, also known as the Betuwe, is a region in Gelderland. The Betuwe is known for its fruit farms and blossom trees. Tiel is the population center, with Geldermalsen and Culemborg making up the other larger towns in the region. The name under which its municipalities operate, Land of rivers, explains exactly what you will find here.
- 1 Tiel — The main city of the region, which as well as the region as a whole, is best known for its fruit production.
- 2 Culemborg — Historic trading city founded in 1315.
- 3 Geldermalsen — One of the oldest cities in the region, founded in 850. Common starting location for the annual "Bloesemtocht".
- 4 Zaltbommel — Historical fortified city in the south-west of the region.
- 5 Buren — A royal city due to its historic affiliation with the Dutch royal family, and home to several museums.
- 6 Druten ― Having been a dominion since the middle ages, Druten is a town with its own distinct identity.
- 7 Neder-Betuwe — Rural heart of the region, centred around relatively conservative Christian towns.
Rivierenland is partially in the so-called Bible Belt of the Netherlands and may tend to be a bit more religious and conservative than the rest of the country. This applies mostly to the West-Betuwe and Neder-Betuwe. The general span can be seen on the map of SGP (Religious party) voters in 2003.
The name of the region most likely means something along the lines of great soil. In contrast, the somewhat more northern Veluwe means terrible soil. Another possible explanation of the name may be that the name is deducted from the Germanic Batavi tribe, which inhabited the region during Roman times. During this time the border of the Roman Empire was located along the Old Rhine and Nederrijn. In multiple locations archaeological digs have uncovered Roman settlements. In Elst alone, three temples were uncovered.
During the later medieval times, the region mostly belonged to the Nijmegen Quarter, one of the four regions of the Duchy of Guelders. Excluded from the Nijmegen Quarter were the Duchies of Buren and Culemborg, as well as the Clevian exclave of Huissen.
Due to the region's location, floods can happen, but generally speaking the area is well protected by dikes. The region only had to evacuate due to a flooding once, which happened in 1996. 140.000 people were evacuated due to high water levels in the rivers.
Rivierenland is quite centrally located, which makes it a convenient location to access the rest of the Netherlands. It has the Waal river crossing right through the region, with the Amsterdam Rijnkanaal connecting to the Waal next to Tiel. The area is not densely populated at all, with the cities Geldermalsen, Culemborg, and Tiel functioning as the main population centers while small towns and farm fields fill up the rest of the region.
Aside from the blossom trees that show up during spring, the region is known for it's orchards that can be seen frequently.
A tradition that can be found in Tiel is the "kermiskoek", a piece of cake that can be gifted to spread love. It is a tradition that stems from the 19th century but the cake can still be bought today and can be used for the same purpose.
Just like in nearby regions like the Achterhoek, "carbidschieten" is popular during new year's evening or during special events like weddings. Milk churns are filled with carbid, which is then heated up to either fire off a ball or the lid. The goal is often to create the loudest explosion possible, which is also why it's often done in grass fields, rather than fireworks which are ignited close to homes.
Every year, the National Red Cross organises the "bloesemtocht", which is an event that has been organised since 1992. The event is organised to raise money for charity, but is commonly visited to take in the beauty of the blossom trees that show up all over Rivierenland. Tourists also frequently come to the area to cycle and see the trees.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Just like in the rest of the Netherlands, the climate has cool summers and mild winters. The rainfall is consistent throughout the year, with the least amount of rain falling in the spring months. Despite that, the weather can still be cold and subzero temperatures are not uncommon.
During the summer, heatwaves are rare and often just last a couple of days every summer, often ending with thunderstorms. The weather tends to exceed its peak in July, August and September, with temperatures of 25+ degrees happening frequently. In winter, temperature during the nights often hits below zero, with some anomalies where the temperature on a day could reach below -10°C.
Dutch is the main language. German is understood by some people and English is spoken by most, especially younger people in the area. In areas below the Waal river, a softer dialect similar to that in North Brabant can be heard more often.
Plenty of places in Rivierenland are easy to access by train, with the biggest train stations being Tiel Railway Station, Geldermalsen Station and Culemborg Station.
From Amsterdam and Schiphol
To get to Culemborg, Geldermalsen and Tiel from Amsterdam/Schiphol, take the Intercity for Arnhem/Nijmegen at --:22 or --:52, and change in Utrecht for the commuter train to Tiel, which leaves at --:28 and --:58. Travel time is 51 minutes to Culemborg, 58 minutes to Geldermalsen, and 73 minutes to Tiel.
Arnhem is located more towards the east of the Netherlands, but travelling from there is just as accessible as other options. A single train between Arnhem Centraal and Tiel Railway Station allows you to access places in Rivierenland like Kesteren, Opheusden, and Dodewaard. You can take the train at Arnhem Centraal at --:38, which allows you to get to Tiel in 35 minutes.
Two major routes run through the Betuwe. These are the A2 (E25) and A15 (E31) highways. The latter, together with the N322, run the entire length of the Betuwe.
When travelling from Amsterdam, take the A2 southward, heading for Utrecht. When travelling to Geldermalsen, take exit 15 on this highway. For Zaltbommel, keep on this highway and take exit 17. When travelling to any other location, use Knooppunt Deil located between exits 15 and 16 to turn onto the A15 heading for Tiel.
To get onto the N322 from either of these places, head for Zaltbommel (exit 17 on the A2). Once off the highway, you will find yourself on the N322. Turning away from Zaltbommel leave the Betuwe in front of you, ready to be explored.
Due to the small size of most towns and cities in Rivierenland, public transport may not be the ideal way of going around, but places like Tiel, Geldermalsen, Culemborg and Zaltbommel are still easy to reach by train. Smaller villages are often possible to reach by using busses, which go every 30 minutes or 60 minutes depending on the location.
The Betuwe is also a popular cycling location and just like most places in the Netherlands, cycling infrastructure is some of the best in the world and is a viable mode of transport to make your way around. The area also has plenty of ferries which will get you across the Waal river, like the ones connecting Tiel and Wamel, or Varik and Heerewaarden.
Most places in Rivierenland are easy to access by car, as they are connected by the A15 highway, and several national roads. The A15 highway allows easy access to Gorinchem, Geldermalsen, Tiel, Ochten, Dodewaard and plenty of other places. The A320 national road connects places like Culemborg, Beusichem, Maurik and Kesteren. On the other side of the Waal river, the N322 will give you easy access to plenty of small villages found in Rivierenland, with Dreumel, Beneden-Leeuwen and Druten being the biggest one among them.
There is various car rental services available if you don't have a car available already. Getting your car delivered to a train station or any other location may be possible after calling the company of choice, though if you happen to arrive on, for example Schiphol Airport, then renting a car near said airport may be a better choice. A couple of available options are:
- Autohopper Autoverhuur Tiel, Stephensonstraat 21, Tiel, ☏ .
- De Waal Autoverhuur, Marconistraat 13A, Tiel, ☏ .
- RentX Autoverhuur, Kattedoorn 5, Tiel, ☏ .
Though the larger towns are easy to reach by train, the small towns rely on busses that go every 30 minutes or an hour, depending on the location. Bus services are usually provided by Arriva[dead link].
When cycling or walking, plenty of ferries will get you across the Waal and Maas rivers. Those connections are found in the following places:
- Tiel — Wamel Ferry, Veerweg 2, Tiel. 07:00 - 18:20. This ferry leaves from Tiel every -:00, -:20, and -:40, while leaving from Wamel on -:10, -:30, and -:50. On foot, crossing will cost €1.10, while cyclists pay €1.70.
- Varik — Heerewaarden Ferry, Waalbandijk 8, Varik. 10:00 - 17:45. This ferry does not have scheduled times. On foot, crossing will cost €1.50, while cyclist pay €2.00.
- Druten — Dodewaard Ferry, Oude Veerweg, Dodewaard. 10:00 - 17:45. This ferry does not have scheduled times. On foot, crossing will cost €1.25, while cyclist pay €1.75.
There are plenty of museums in Rivierenland, for example Metropole Druten, which is a classic car museum in Druten, and the Marechaussemuseum, which is a museum of the Royal Dutch Navy. Another common thing in the region are "Landwinkels" (farmland stores), usually small vending machines or stands that sell fresh fruit produced by farmers in the region. Depending on the product, these "landwinkels" can be cheaper than regular supermarkets.
The village of Acquoy has a famous church, nicknamed the "leaning tower of Acquoy", it is more famous than other churches in the region due to the way it leans over slightly. This was caused by several floodings by the Linge river, which resulted in the soil underneath the church washing away. To stop the tower from toppling over completely, several layers were removed.
- The region of Rivierenland is a popular cycling area. There are many cycle routes following the various rivers and dikes.
- Every year, Tiel is home to the biggest free music festival of the Netherlands, called "Appelpop". The event is always held in the second weekend of September.
- Since 1961, Tiel is also home to "Fruitcorso" in September, a parade of floats decorated with fruit designed by towns and cities in the area travel through the city.
- The city Tiel is known for its raspberry jam, which is mainly due to its mascot Flipje and the large amount of fruit production in the region.
- The Betuwe is also known for the large amount of cherries it produces, which can be seen in the orchards that are quite common in the region.
- Rivierenland has plenty of local breweries and their beers can be found in various supermarket and liquor stores. An example is "Brouwerij de Betuwe", named after the region. It is based in Maurik and sell various special beer types.
|Routes through Rivierenland|
|Amsterdam ← Utrecht ←||N S||→ Eindhoven → Maastricht|
|Rotterdam ← Dordrecht ←||W E||→ Arnhem (via A325)|
|Connection to A27 ←||W E||→ Nijmegen (via A73)|
|Connects to A2 ← Culemborg ←||W N||→ Veenendaal (via N233)|
|Utrecht ← Culemborg ←||W E||→ Tiel → Arnhem|