Jan van Gorp cycling and walking route | Sagas & Legends

Discover The Earthly Paradise from Jan van Gorp at Hilvarenbeek.

2 hour 5 minutes (15.5 km)

Starting point: from your location


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A ‘child prodigy’ was born in Hilvarenbeek in the 16th century. It was Johannes Goropius Becanus, also called Jan van Gorp. Jan had a great gift for languages, amazing intuition and vast knowledge of nature. He combined that knowledge with feeling and found… the EARTHLY PARADISE. Read more about Jan’s story here and join us on a trip.

The cycle and walking route starts on the Vrijthof in Hilvarenbeek and is 15,5 km in length. On the way, you can stop at Gasterij De Nieuwe Hoef. Here, you can park your bike and start a 5.5 km walk through the stunning countryside.

Get down and discover
Make your cycling adventure complete en surprise yourself along the route with special products, offers and packages which have this route as their theme. 

Information about this cycle route
This cyc…

A ‘child prodigy’ was born in Hilvarenbeek in the 16th century. It was Johannes Goropius Becanus, also called Jan van Gorp. Jan had a great gift for languages, amazing intuition and vast knowledge of nature. He combined that knowledge with feeling and found… the EARTHLY PARADISE. Read more about Jan’s story here and join us on a trip.

The cycle and walking route starts on the Vrijthof in Hilvarenbeek and is 15,5 km in length. On the way, you can stop at Gasterij De Nieuwe Hoef. Here, you can park your bike and start a 5.5 km walk through the stunning countryside.

Get down and discover
Make your cycling adventure complete en surprise yourself along the route with special products, offers and packages which have this route as their theme. 

Information about this cycle route
This cycle and walking route is 15,5 kilometres long and marked out via the official cycling junction network. Follow the route from one numbered intersection to the next. Arrows point the way between the junctions. 

Route hotline
If you find something wrong with the signage or the route, please report it via Meldpunt knooppuntroutes Brabant (Brabant junction route hotline). You can also call 0800-4050050 (free).

Experience exciting regional stories in Brabant
Sagas and legends live on in Brabant. Beautiful routes take you past the most impressive spots where regional stories come to life. Join us on an exploration and experience the story of Jan van Gorp and his Earthly Paradise. 

Additional route information

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Sights on this route

Starting point:

De Vrijthof
Hilvarenbeek
Navigate to starting point
42
A

Saint Peter’s Church stems from 990! A tuff stone church was built here at that time. The current (Gothic) church and tower date back to around 1300.

Saint Peter’s Church
B

The centuries-old linden tree on the Vrijthof has seen everything pass by. From criminals who were tried under its branches to funfair-goers who whirled around it in all kinds of fairground attractions.

Geboden Linde
51
38
C

This hunting lodge was also called Van Gorp Castle. The house was built around 1870. The garden in front of the house contains a lovely statue  of Diana, the goddess of hunting. 

Van Gorp Castle
50
92
D

In the stunning nature areas of the Gorp en Roovert Estate, you will find ‘paradise bridge’, one of the many references to Jan van Gorp. 

Paradise Bridge
E
De Nieuwe Hoef
F

Earthly Paradise, the painting (replica). A replica of the painting ‘The Earthly Paradise with the Fall of Adam and Eve’ hangs in Gasterij De Nieuwe Hoef. 

Earthly Paradise, the painting (replica)
H

A small river flows from Belgium into the estate of Gorp and Roovert, meandering entirely naturally through the forest.

Roovertse Leij
68
67
94
93
92
50
08
I

You will find a lovely play forest at the Roovertsedijk. Children can do all kinds of things here: building huts, climbing in trees and simply running and playing around.

Roovertse Bergen with a giant bench
51
42
J

Saint Peter’s Church stems from 990! A tuff stone church was built here at that time. The current (Gothic) church and tower date back to around 1300.

Saint Peter’s Church

End point:

De Vrijthof
Hilvarenbeek
Navigate to endpoint

Story of the route

Starting point:

De Vrijthof
Hilvarenbeek
Navigate to starting point
  • In 1535, Jan is 14 years-old and studying at the Latin School of Hilvarenbeek. That particular day, he learned about the Earthly Paradise: a paradisiacal world, a heaven on earth. On his way back home, he thought, ‘If an Earthly Paradise exists, I want to find it.’ Soon after, Jan saw a lark, the symbol of the connection between heaven and earth. He decided to follow the lark in the hope of finding the Earthly Paradise.
  • Jan ran and ran, via the Groot Loo and into the forests of Gorp and Roovert. Jan kept running until he lost his way and the lark. He then arrived at ‘Paradijsburg’ (Paradise Bridge). Here, there was a meandering stream, animals were drinking, and all kinds of things were growing on the banks. ‘Wow, I think I have found it! It is so beautiful here, this must be the Earthly Paradise,’ Jan said to himself out loud. 
  • Jan started to explore and was amazed by the herbs and seeds that grew there. ‘These are not any old herbs, but herbs which can be used to heal people.’ Until then, he had only read about them. Jan picked some herbs and seeds, and then he saw the lark suddenly re-appear. He decided to continue following the bird and arrived back in the centre of Hilvarenbeek, where the lark flew into the tall church. 
  • Jan climbed the tower and once he got to the top, he saw the statue of Saint Christopher. The patron saint of travellers was beautifully illuminated by the sun. ‘This must be a sign,’ Jan thought. ‘I must leave Hilvarenbeek and travel if I want to learn more.’ 
  • No sooner said that done. But before Jan left, he planted a seed in the middle of the centre of Hilvarenbeek. ‘This way, no one will forget that I lived here.’ You don’t have to look hard to see the beautiful centuries-old linden tree on the Vrijthof these days.

End point:

De Vrijthof
Hilvarenbeek
Navigate to endpoint
  • 42
  • 51
  • 38
  • 50
  • 92
  • 68
  • 67
  • 94
  • 93
  • 92
  • 50
  • 08
  • 51
  • 42

Route features

Landscape
Forest
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