Veenmuseum – Westerhaar-Vriezenveensewijk, Netherlands - Atlas Obscura
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Westerhaar-Vriezenveensewijk, Netherlands

Veenmuseum

Hop aboard a charming bog train to explore this rare open-air museum of peat. 

The bogs of Europe hide strange treasures beneath their soggy surfaces. Leathery bodies and 2,000-year-old blobs of butter have been found preserved within the peat. But bogs inspire above-ground gems, too, like this museum that preserves a chapter of Dutch history.

The Veenmuseum recreates what it was like to live and work on a bog in this part of the Netherlands from the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries. Various turf huts, all painstakingly constructed to model the homes of real bog workers, are scattered throughout the property.

Most of the houses were made from peat, as it was in plentiful supply, but as time went on, huts with stone walls and even wallpaper began appearing as well. As people became wealthier and families expanded, multi-room homes replaced crammed, single-room abodes.

One of the most charming aspects of visiting the Veenmuseum is that you’re carted around the property in an original small-track bog train. While aboard, you’ll notice that, as in the past, the rails were not at all straight because they were only there on a fairly temporary basis.

The nature surrounding the museum is worth noting, too. A nearby tower provides superb bird watching opportunities, and there are excellent walking trails.

Know Before You Go

The best way to get here is by bike. Car is also possible; there is plenty of parking space. The chance of the personnel speaking English are quite small, but German works for sure.