Primal Landscape


As early as in the Mesolithic era, about 10,000 years ago, there were people living in the Holtingerveld. They made camp there to hunt reindeer. Later, around 3,000 B.C., the funnelbeaker culture built two dolmens – robust megalithic tombs – at the base of the Havelterberg.

In later times, people buried their dead in a grave – or burial mounds, which you can find scattered over the area. In the middle ages, the landscape changed from a woody landscape into an open, spacious stretch of moorland. Especially in the 19th century, it was a desolate and empty landscape in which cattle and the flocks of sheep from the surrounding villages foraged. During the Second World War, the landscape changed drastically once more. The village was moved in order to make place for a large airfield for the German occupiers. The old landscape vanished overnight, to give way to hangars, taxiways and runways. Especially in the last stage of the war, the area was subject to heavy bombing raids. After the war, peace returned in the area. The Holtingerveld was never subject to large-scale exploitation of its peatlands, which means that the original character of the area remained intact. Today, annually, the Holtingerveld draws thousands of tourists who want to enjoy the varying landscape, the peace and quiet and the stunning views of the Havelterberg.

Natura 2000

Because of the special character of the Holtingerveld, the area was incorporated in the European network of the most important natural reserves. This network is called Natura 2000. In 2003, it was signed up at the European Union as “Havelte-Oost”; in 2013 the area was permanently incorporated in the Natura 2000. In the meantime the name has changed into Holtingerveld. The designation decree from the Ministry of Economy mentions various types of natural landscape that the Holtingerveld includes:

  • Sand drifts
  • Moorland with crowberry
  • Fens
  • Wet and dry moorland
  • Violion caninae grasslands
  • Raised bog
  • Old oak woods

Moreover, there are two animal species that need extra protection: the crested newt that likes little ponds and fens and the large white-faced darter, who lives near fens. The management plan lists a number of measures that have to ensure that the types of nature that the area is designated for, remain in existence. These measures are being carried out together with the municipality and the water board. The province of Drenthe is responsible for the conservation of nature in the area. You may contact the province if you want to apply for a permit for an event or another kind of activity.

The management plan has been finished and was available for inspection in May 2016. The comments are currently being processed and we expect the final plan to be finished in the fall of 2016.

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