Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Museum Village of Orvelte in Drenthe, Netherlands

Apart from the famous museum village ‘Zaanse Schans’ near Amsterdam – which is the most popular day trip destination (including Volendam) for all tourists visiting the city with an extra day to spend – did you know as well that there is another museum village in the Netherlands?

I learned about Orvelte a while back but I can’t remember how I found the village. I have been wanting to visit for years but just didn’t really had the chance. The Dutchman has an aversion to visiting villages and cultural related activities, well due to a childhood overdoses, so I have to do this all by myself, or I have to go with friends.

Horse tram carriage Orvelte

The opportune time came last March when I schemed up a long weekend road trip in Drenthe. I quickly made an agenda on what to do and see in the province. I stayed in the charismatic village of Westerbork and visited Assen, the capital of the province, Meppel, the Westerbork Memorial Camp and Museum and for my last item on the list, Orvelte.

I will be meeting with girlfriend Bru who lives not too far away for lunch here. It’s going to be like hitting 2 birds with 1 stone, having a catch-up lunch with Bru, and finally visiting the historical museum village.

[To read the rest of the post and see more pictures, click the Read more link below]

The name of the village is derived from the phrase, ‘Over het veld’ (across the field) because this area in Drenthe before had a large expanse of heather growing on its fields, and many sheep grazed on it. The village is said to go back to the 11th century and agricultural farm life was the main source of livelihood back then.

Since 1967 Orvelte has been designated the title ‘museum village’. The character of the village was beautifully restored and coalesced as it should have been back in 1832. Thatched-roof barns, Saxon-style wooden farm houses and the reintroduction of artisanry and locally produced organic products. Visitors can visit some of the farms and delights in the live traditional demonstrations of the making of wooden shoes and cheese for example. Similar to Zaanse Schans, normal people, just like you and me, live and work here in Orvelte.

Because of its museum village status, Orvelte holds special events and markets throughout the year, but most of them take place during late spring, throughout the summer and early autumn.

Bru and I had lunch at De Schapendrift, a sheep’s barn converted into a comfortable restaurant. Its original structure was preserved making the place really traditional and charming, and very cushy too. After lunch, we strolled a bit to the real sheep’s barn across the restaurant and were very lucky enough to have witnessed 2 baby lamb births! That was a first for me.

Although you can visit Orvelte throughout the year, it is best to come here in spring and summer when themed events and special markets kick in the agenda. The village shall I say has more life compared to a quiet March when we came here.

And oh, this was something we thought was a bit out of the ordinary. There is an Apple Museum here! The Apple from the Mac and iPhone fame. This was totally something we did not expect.

How to get to Orvelte:

The best way to get to Orvelte is by car. Below is an idea how far Orvelte is from Amsterdam. Approximately 2 hours without traffic.

Important things to know about Orvelte:

  • The village is car free and only locals who live here have access to the village streets.
  • Parking is €3,00 per day outside the village. It is not too far.
  • Parking is free on Mondays and during school holidays.
  • A map of the village is available on Orvelte’s website.
  • Orvelte can even send you a map (brochure) per post mail as well. To request this, please go to their website.
  • There are B&B’s here so one can stay overnight if desired.

The map of Orvelte village:

Orvelte Map Kaart

To see the map in detail, right click on the file and open in another window.

Orvelte Village Picture Gallery:

Cafe Warmolts

Dorpscafe Warmolts. It's nice to have a cup of coffee or tea here by the outdoor terrace.


The horse (tram) carriage of the village is popular with the kids of course, but you do not really need this as the village is very small.

Horses Orvelte

Bru trying to be friends with the horse.

Orvelte Museum Village

There are restaurants (Schenkerij & Lunch in the photo) and shops ('t Bakkershoes in the photo) in Orvelte so its a good place for a day out, or least half a day.

Newborn lamb orvelte

A new born baby lamb! 

Orvelte farm houses
Orvelte shops

This is one of the shops selling local organic products.

Travel Period: March 2016
Destination: Orvelte, Midden Drenthe (Drenthe), Netherlands

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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