De Peel is located in the most south-eastern part of North Brabant, bordering on Limburg. A beautiful and varied nature reserve with impenetrable peat bogs, open heathlands, vast plains, picturesque pools of water, countless woods and impressive sand ridges. This is a paradise for nature lovers and hikers with its numerous extraordinary plants. This is where you find peace and quiet, space and darkness. Explore this beautiful nature reserve, surrounded by authentic Brabant municipalities such as Asten, Deurne, Germert-Bakel, Helmond and Laarbeek.
At one time, De Pelen (plural of De Peel) were one giant, almost inaccessible, moorland. But most of that disappeared into ovens and stoves as turf, the ‘gold of De Peel’. The Deurnese Peel, the Mariapeel and the Groote Peel are what remained. The area is an internationally recognised ‘wetland’ area. It is very important for many types of marsh birds and waterfowl. The Groote Peel has been a National Park since 1993.
Close to Asten, just over the border in Limburg and on the edge of De Groote Peel National Park, lies the outdoor centre, Buitencentrum De Pelen. It is the starting point and end point of various hiking and cycling routes, making it an ideal spot to enter De Groote Peel. You can take a break there and enjoy a delicious treat on the spacious outdoor terrace. Should you want to play some golf, visit the beautifully located golf course, ‘t Woold. A golf complex with a full 18-hole championship course and a challenging 9-hole par-3 course. The restaurant offers lunch and dinner. Via the ruins of the Asten castle, you continue your journey to Asten where you simply should not miss a visit to the Klok & Peel Museum. The museum gives a unique look at how De Groote Peel National Park has developed in the past ten thousand years. The museum also holds the world’s largest collection of swinging bells and carillons.
Helenaveen is located between the Deurnese Peel and Mariapeel – a very impressive area for cycling and hiking. The village came into being during the time of the fen community and is now a protected rural area. Along the Helenvaart, which runs right through the village, you can stop at one of the many terraces to enjoy a bite or a drink. The monumental farms, called the Koningshoeven, are also certainly worth a visit.
In Deurne itself, you can find De Wieger Museum, located in the former residence/medical practice and artist’s studio of the legendary painting general practitioner, Hendrik Wiegersma (1891-1969). It gives a good impression of the life and work of Wiegersma. Next to the museum is ‘Het tuinpad van mijn vader’ (My father’s garden path), from the famous song ‘Het Dorp’ (The Village) by Wim Sonneveld. And that is not the only famous item in the village. The Toon Kortooms Park is named after the famous writer Toon Kortooms, known for the Beekman & Beekman books. This park is located where the old residences of the Kortooms family used to be. It has not only a museum that focuses on his life, but also also a barefoot path along which you will encounter observation towers, balancing beams, a rope bridge, a wobbly bridge and a mud ditch. A guarantee for great adventure!
The Stippelberg or Dot Mountain is another large yet well-hidden nature reserve, close to the village De Rips. Wander through the eastern part of the Stippelberg over the lanes that belong to the country villa. The nature reserve’s name is due to the hills in the middle of the woods, like dots in the landscape. The Stippelberg Golf Course is south of the nature reserve. The total complex is more than 90 hectare with large pools of water, 27 holes in total: a Championship Course, an 18-hole golf course, and the Executive Course, a 9 hole par-3/4 course, as well as extensive practice facilities.
In an oasis of green you can find the Nederheide Hotel Restaurant. It has a lovely sandy beach and sunbathing area. In Gemert itself, the Boerenbondsmuseum is a location that you should not miss. This open-air museum, which depicts life in the country in Brabant in the year 1900, has been declared the most fun (family) excursion in Brabant several times!
The closest major city is Helmond, which has the largest moated castle in the Netherlands in its centre: Helmond Castle, also part of Helmond Museum. Wander through the inviting centre of the city, visit the Cacaofabriek cultural centre and the Speelhuis theatre. If you have the time, cycle out of the centre, past the shop of the world-famous textile manufacturer Vlisco, to the Brandevoort neighbourhood, where the picturesque facades are mirrored in the water. Do you like good food? Settle down on one of the inviting street cafes or spoil your taste buds at De Rozario restaurant of chef Jermain de Rozario, crowned with a Michelin star in 2019. Did you know that Helmond is where the very first cube houses of architect Piet Blom were built?