Wednesday 26 February 2020

Hunebed and breakfast: Drenthe renames country road to boost tourism

Hunebed D19 near Drouwen. Photo: Gouwenaar via Wikipedia

The N34 road through Drenthe has been renamed the Hunebed Highway in an attempt to draw more visitors to the region.

The route, which runs almost the entire length of the province from Eelde in the north to Coevorden, passes 47 ‘hunebedden’ – ancient burial mounds which are the earliest evidence of human habitation in the Netherlands. They date from the neolithic period, between 3450 and 3250 BC.

Provincial assembly member Henk Brink said the new name was designed to highlight the region’s history and natural beauty and attract more tourists, especially from China. A similar targeted marketing initiative a decade ago in the village of Giethoorn, Overijssel, led to an influx of Chinese visitors, who now number around 350,000 a year.

‘At the moment the Chinese are mostly in Giethoorn and Amsterdam, where it’s overcrowded,’ said Brink. ‘We’re seeing that Drenthe is in high demand, because if you want to get away from it all Drenthe is a good alternative.’

The new name is also an attempt to create a Dutch ‘road trip’ experience along the lines of Route 66 or the Route Napoléon in the south of France. ‘We have beautiful villages, nature and landscapes that we want to bring to people’s attention,’ said Brink.

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