Veluwezoom is only one of the several parts of the Veluwe, which consists of the National Parks of Veluwezoom and Hoge Veluwe, along with the other forested areas between the cities of Arnhem, Apeldoorn, Barneveld and Zwolle. The Veluwe consists of 1100 km2, whereas Veluwezoom consists of 50 km2.
The Veluwezoom was consists of a complex terminal of posh moraines dating back to the Saalian glaciation (~150.000 years ago). This resulted in the high contrast in height compared to the rest of the country. Veluwezoom's highest point is roughly 110 meters above sea level, whereas most of the Netherlands barely pokes above sea level.
When the appreciation of nature and landscapes started growing in the Netherlands (~1900), many high class citizens of the cities, located mostly in the west, went on vacations in these areas. Veluwezoom was one of these areas. Many inns were built during this time to offer places to stay for the visiting tourists. During the 20th century the area started to attract more visitors due to a continued rise in prosperity.
The landscapes on Veluwezoom were formed during the two most recent glacial periods. During the Saalian, the second most recent glacial period, the ground, mostly existing of sand, was formed into hills and 'mountains' by the glaciers spanning over the north of Europe. When these glaciers melted, many streams were formed, which, though they contain no water, can still be found in the park.
During the Weichselian glaciation, the most recent glacial period, the ice didn't reach the Netherlands, yet the ice just north of the country caused sand and dust to be blown into the country. The sand and dust gathered in the valleys between the mountains, and formed a fertile layer of Loess in the south of the Veluwe.
The highest point of the park is Signaal Imbosch which stands at 109.9 metres.
Flora and fauna
The existing flora is mostly decided on by the former management of the park. The area has a large amount of heathlands, on which you will find common heather (Calluna), cross-leaved heath (Erica tetralix), common gorse (Ulex europaeus) and common broom (Cytisus coparius). In the old forests of 't Asselt and in the Onzalige Bossen you will find mostly brake growing underneath oak and birch trees. On the sand dunes you will find mostly blueberries and lingonberries, which are edible. Underneath the pine trees on the Eerbeeksche Veld you will find large amounts of wavy Hair-grass (Deschampsia flexuosa). In the forests and on the loess you will most likely find birch and oak trees, which are native to the area, along with Norway spruce, larch, Douglas fir and sweet chestnut trees, which occasionally grow over 40 meters tall. In these forests you will most likely find no vegetation underneath the trees. Lastly, in the valley of the Beekhuizense beek (Beekhuizen stream) you will find saxifrage.
On the most scanty areas of the Veluwe the vegetation can be damaged easily, which has caused very sandy areas to be created. The only area on Veluwezoom where you will find this landscape is the rather small Rozendaalse Zand. In 2009 17 hectares of forest were cut to give the wind more influence on the area.
The national park Veluwezoom has many big mammals such as the red deer, fallow deer, roe deer and wild boars. It also houses predators such as foxes, badgers, ermines and pine martens. The park has high numbers of birds, which aren't hard to come across. Amongst these are the rather uncommon kingfishers, eurasian hobby's, honey buzzards, ravens, nightjars, stonechats, skylarks and green and black woodpeckers. During winters you will find great grey shrikes as well. Out of the seven reptiles that are native to the Netherlands, six can be found in Park Veluwezoom. These six are the European adder, smooth snake, grass snake, slow worm, sand lizard and viviparous lizard.
The best way to enter the park is from the south side. The official visitors centre is located near the village of Rheden. The visitors centre can be reached by using the A12 in the direction of Arnhem. When you find yourself on the roundabout by the river IJssel (knooppunt Velperbroek, exit 27), exit the A12 and turn onto the A348 in the direction of Rheden, Zutphen and Doesburg. Use exit 2 (Rheden) to turn onto the Groenestraat. When you have reached the end of the Groenestraat. On the roundabout you find yourself on several parking spaces are indicated by signs.
Fees and permits
Entrance to the park is free, services however, can be arranged through the park's website, which can be easily translated to English.
Cars are allowed on several indicated roads, yet a car won't get you far. Your best option is to go biking or hiking in the park. Camping is not allowed, so when travelling large distances through the park, going by bike is highly recommended. Bikes can be rented at the visitors centre (Heuvenseweg 5a, 6991 JE Rheden). Routes are freely available online.
Camping in the park is not allowed. Visit one of the hotels or campsites found by the edge of the park. Accommodation is listed under Overnachten (Accommodation) on the park's website.
Do not approach wild boar, since they can be aggressive towards humans, especially when they have piglets.