Assen, Netherlands

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Assen, Netherlands

Region: Drenthe


Geographic Coordinates: 53.000000, 6.566700
Climate: Assen, Netherlands experiences a temperate maritime climate with mild summers and cool winters.
Population: 68836
Language: Dutch

Assen, The capital city of the province of Drenthe in the Netherlands, Is a charming and historic town with a rich cultural heritage. Located in the northeastern part of the country, Assen offers a unique blend of natural beauty, Historical landmarks, And modern amenities. One of Assen’s most famous attractions is its iconic TT Circuit Assen. Known as The Cathedral to motorcycle racing enthusiasts worldwide, This legendary circuit hosts an annual MotoGP event that draws thousands of spectators. The track’s history dates back to 1925 when it was first established for car races before becoming synonymous with motorcycling.

Aside from motorsports, Assen boasts an abundance of green spaces and natural beauty. The nearby Drentsche Aa National Park is a stunning area characterized by picturesque landscapes filled with forests, Heathlands, Sand dunes, And meandering streams. Nature lovers can explore this tranquil setting through various walking and cycling trails while enjoying sightings of diverse wildlife. For those interested in history and culture, There are several noteworthy sites to explore in Assen. The Drents Museum showcases archaeological finds from both local prehistoric times and international cultures throughout history.

Housed within an impressive building designed by renowned architect Erick van Egeraat, This museum offers fascinating exhibitions on art pieces from around the world. Another notable landmark is De Vaart or Vaartse Rijn canal that runs through central Assen. Lined with beautiful trees and historic buildings along its banks provides a scenic backdrop for leisurely walks or boat rides during warmer months. Assen also features charming shopping streets such as Gedempte Singel and Kruisstraat where visitors can find a variety of boutiques selling fashion items or specialty stores offering local products like cheese or traditional Dutch souvenirs.

Furthermore culinary delights await visitors in Assens vibrant dining scene From cozy cafes serving aromatic coffee blends to upscale restaurants offering international cuisine there is something to satisfy every palate. Don’t miss the opportunity to try local specialties like Drentse turf cake or a hearty plate of boerenkool stamppot, A traditional Dutch dish made with mashed potatoes and kale. In terms of accommodation, Assen offers a range of options from cozy bed and breakfasts to luxurious hotels. Whether you prefer staying in the heart of the city or closer to nature there are accommodations available to suit all preferences.

Overall, Assen is an enchanting destination that combines thrilling motorsports events with natural beauty and cultural heritage. With its friendly atmosphere and diverse attractions this captivating town promises visitors an unforgettable experience that blends history, Nature, And modern-day amenities seamlessly.



Important Landmarks

  1. Drents Museum: A renowned museum showcasing archaeological finds, art, and cultural history of the province of Drenthe.
  2. TT Circuit Assen: One of the most famous motorcycle racing circuits in the world, hosting the annual Dutch TT race.
  3. Assen City Hall: A striking modernist building known for its unique architecture and beautiful interior design.
  4. De Bonte Wever: A popular recreational center offering facilities like a water park, spa, bowling alley, and various other sports activities.
  5. Vaart Welgelegen: A picturesque canal with beautiful walking paths lined with trees and historic buildings.
  6. Hunebed D27 (Borger): Though not located directly in Assen but nearby in Borger, this prehistoric megalithic tomb is one of the largest dolmens in the Netherlands and attracts many visitors.
  7. Memorial Center Camp Westerbork: Located near Assen, this former Nazi transit camp now serves as a memorial center commemorating Holocaust victims.
  8. De Nieuwe Kolk Theater & Cinema: A modern cultural complex featuring theaters, cinemas, a library, art exhibitions, and various performances throughout the year.
  9. Gouverneurstuin: An enchanting city garden with beautifully landscaped green spaces that often hosts events like art exhibitions and concerts during summers.
  10. Kloosterkerk (Monastery Church): This historic church dates back to 1259 AD and features impressive Gothic architecture along with stunning stained glass windows.

Primary Industries

  1. Automotive: Assen is home to the TT Circuit Assen, which hosts various motorsport events including the MotoGP Dutch Grand Prix. The city has a strong presence of automotive companies, including car dealerships, repair shops, and related services.
  2. Energy: Assen has a significant presence in the energy sector with several companies involved in renewable energy production and distribution. This includes wind farms, solar energy projects, and research centers focused on sustainable energy solutions.
  3. Technology: The city has a thriving technology sector with numerous IT companies specializing in software development, data analytics, cybersecurity, and other tech-related services.
  4. Logistics: Due to its strategic location between major cities like Groningen and Zwolle, Assen serves as an important logistics hub for transportation and distribution activities. Several logistics companies operate warehouses and transportation services in the area.
  5. Retail: As one of the largest cities in Drenthe province, Assen boasts a vibrant retail sector with numerous shops ranging from local boutiques to large chain stores located within shopping centers like City Point Shopping Center.
  6. Tourism: With its rich cultural heritage and natural landscapes such as Drentsche Aa National Park nearby, tourism plays an important role in Assen’s economy. The city offers various attractions including museums (e.g., Drents Museum), historical sites (e.g., Bartje statue), events (e.g., TT Festival), hotels, restaurants, and recreational activities.
  7. Healthcare Services: Assen houses several healthcare facilities such as hospitals (e.g., Wilhelmina Hospital) along with medical clinics offering specialized treatments across various disciplines.
  8. Education: Being home to several educational institutions like University Campus Fryslân – University of Groningen Campus Fryslân (UCF), NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, and Drenthe College, Assen has a significant education sector.
  9. Agriculture: Assen is located in the agricultural region of Drenthe, and agriculture plays an important role in the local economy. Farms producing crops, dairy products, and livestock are prevalent in the surrounding areas.

Overall, Assen has a diverse economic landscape with a mix of industries ranging from automotive to technology, logistics to tourism, making it an important center for business and commerce in the region.


Noteable History

  1. Drenthe Rebellion (1579): During the Dutch Revolt against Spanish rule, Drenthe province, where Assen is located, rebelled against Spanish authority. This rebellion played a significant role in the wider struggle for Dutch independence.
  2. Construction of the Vaart: In 1809, Napoleon Bonaparte ordered the construction of a canal called Vaart that connected Assen to Groningen. This canal facilitated trade and transportation in the region.
  3. Establishment as provincial capital (1809): As part of French annexation, Assen was declared the capital of Drenthe province in 1809. It has remained so ever since.
  4. TT Circuit Assen: The TT Circuit Assen is one of the most famous motorcycle racing tracks globally and has been hosting MotoGP races since 1949. It attracts thousands of visitors each year for its thrilling races.
  5. Bartje Bartels: Bartje Bartels is a fictional character from a popular novel by Anne de Vries published in 1935 titled Bartje. The novel tells the story of a young boy named Bartje growing up in rural Drenthe during the pre-World War I era.
  6. Hendrikus Colijn: Hendrikus Colijn was born in 1869 near Assen and later became an influential politician in Dutch history. He served as Prime Minister from 1925 to 1926 and again from 1933 to 1939 during challenging times such as economic crisis and World War II buildup.
  7. Lodewijk Napoleon Bonaparte’s visit: In August 1809, King Louis Napoleon Bonaparte visited Assen during his reign over Holland (now part of modern-day Netherlands). His visit brought significant attention to the town and led to various infrastructural developments.
  8. Drents Museum: The Drents Museum, located in Assen, is a renowned museum that showcases the cultural history of the province of Drenthe. It houses a diverse collection of artifacts, including archaeological finds, art, and historical objects.

These are just a few examples of notable historical events and individuals associated with Assen. The city’s history extends beyond these highlights, offering further exploration into its past.


Museums and Things To See

  1. Drents Museum: This renowned museum offers a diverse collection of art and historical artifacts, including prehistoric finds, Dutch masters’ paintings, and contemporary art exhibitions.
  2. TT Circuit Assen: If you’re a motorsport enthusiast, visiting the TT Circuit Assen is a must. Known as the Cathedral of Motorcycling, it hosts various racing events throughout the year.
  3. De Nieuwe Kolk: This cultural center houses a theater, cinema, library, and exhibition spaces. Catch a performance or film screening or explore their rotating art exhibitions.
  4. Memorial Center Camp Westerbork: Located just outside Assen, this former Nazi transit camp serves as a poignant reminder of the Holocaust in the Netherlands. Explore its exhibits and learn about its history during World War II.
  5. Jacob Cramer House: Step back in time at this 18th-century merchant’s house turned museum. Discover period furniture and decor while learning about life in Assen centuries ago.
  6. Vaart Welgelegen Windmill: Take a short trip to Zeijerveen (near Assen) to visit this beautifully restored windmill from 1863. Climb to its top for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
  7. Bartje Statue: In downtown Assen stands an iconic statue depicting Bartje—a fictional character from local literature—symbolizing resilience and independence in Drenthe culture.
  8. The Drents Archief (Drenthe Archive): History buffs will enjoy exploring this archive that preserves documents related to Drenthe’s past—ranging from medieval charters to family histories—providing valuable insights into regional heritage.
  9. Nationale Park De Hoge Veluwe (The Hoge Veluwe National Park): Although not directly located in Assen but within reasonable distance by car or train, this stunning national park offers vast heathlands, woodlands, and wildlife. Explore its diverse landscapes on foot or by bike.
  10. Asserbos: Located near the city center, this picturesque forest park is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic amidst nature’s beauty. Enjoy the serene atmosphere and discover hidden trails.


Sports Teams

  1. FC Groningen (Youth Academy): While not based in Assen itself, FC Groningen’s youth academy has a training facility in Assen where they develop young football talents.
  2. ACV (Asser Christelijke Voetbalvereniging): ACV is a local football club founded in 1954 and currently plays in the Derde Divisie (fourth-tier of Dutch football).
  3. Asser Boys: Another local football club established in 1919 that competes at amateur levels.
  4. AVO Handball: AVO Handball Club was founded in 1947 and has had success at regional and national levels within handball competitions.

It’s worth mentioning that these clubs may not have significant historical achievements on a national scale but play important roles within their respective communities.



Cultural Events

  1. TT Festival: This is a popular event held in Assen every year during the week leading up to the Dutch TT motorcycle race. It features live music, street performances, parades, and various entertainment activities.
  2. Drents Museum: The Drents Museum regularly hosts exhibitions and cultural events showcasing local and international art, history, and archaeology. Visitors can explore diverse exhibitions throughout the year.
  3. Asser Historische Vereniging: This historical association organizes cultural events such as lectures, guided tours, and exhibitions focused on preserving and promoting Assen’s rich history.
  4. Nacht van Assen (Night of Assen): This annual event takes place in the city center with live music performances by local bands and artists. The streets come alive with food stalls, outdoor bars, and a festive atmosphere.
  5. Bevrijdingsfestival (Liberation Festival): Celebrated on May 5th each year to commemorate the liberation of the Netherlands during World War II, this festival features music performances by renowned artists along with various activities for all ages.
  6. Preuvenement: Held in August each year at Gouverneurstuin Park in Assen, Preuvenement is a culinary festival where visitors can sample delicious food from local restaurants while enjoying live entertainment.
  7. Roldermarkt: Located just outside of Assen in Rolde village but easily accessible from the city center, Roldermarkt is one of Europe’s largest horse markets held annually on the third Tuesday in September since 1362! Besides horse trading, there are also funfair attractions and market stalls selling various goods.
  8. Winterfair: During December each year leading up to Christmas season at De Bonte Wever event center in Assen hosts a Winterfair featuring an ice rink for skating enthusiasts along with Christmas market stalls offering crafts, gifts items as well as food and drinks.

These are just a few examples of cultural events and festivals in Assen, Netherlands. The city offers a diverse range of activities throughout the year, catering to different interests and age groups.


Cuisine

  1. Drentsche Aa: This restaurant focuses on using locally sourced ingredients to create traditional Dutch dishes with a modern twist. They offer a changing menu that reflects the seasons.
  2. De Hertenkamp: Known for its cozy atmosphere, De Hertenkamp serves a range of dishes from Dutch cuisine, including stews, pancakes, and herring.
  3. Liff Assen: Liff Assen is a trendy restaurant that combines international flavors with local ingredients. They offer an extensive menu featuring dishes like sushi, burgers, salads, and more.
  4. Restaurant de Gulle Gans: Located in an old farmhouse just outside Assen’s city center, this restaurant specializes in French-inspired cuisine using fresh local produce.
  5. De Jongens van de Wit: This café-restaurant is known for its relaxed atmosphere and delicious food offerings such as sandwiches, soups, salads, and homemade cakes.
  6. Restaurant & Wijnbar Merlot: With an emphasis on fine dining and wine pairing experiences, Merlot offers an elegant setting to enjoy seasonal dishes prepared with regional ingredients.
  7. Grand Café ‘t Wapen van Drenthe: Situated in the heart of Assen’s city center near the historic Brink square, this grand café offers classic Dutch dishes like bitterballen (deep-fried meatballs) alongside international favorites.
  8. Het Wapen van Drenthe: This traditional pub-style restaurant serves hearty meals such as steaks and schnitzels while offering a wide selection of beers on tap.

Parks and Recreation

  1. Drents-Friese Wold National Park: Located near Assen, this national park offers beautiful walking and cycling trails through forests, heathlands, and sand dunes.
  2. Baggelhuizerplas: A popular recreational area with a large lake where you can swim, sail, or simply relax on the sandy beach. There are also picnic areas and walking paths around the lake.
  3. Het Houten Pad van Theodoor: This nature reserve features a wooden boardwalk that takes you through marshes and reed beds. It is an excellent spot for birdwatching and enjoying nature.
  4. De Onlanden: A wetland area located just outside of Assen that is perfect for hiking or cycling. It is home to various bird species and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
  5. TT Circuit Assen: Known as The Cathedral of motorcycling racing, this circuit hosts various motorsport events throughout the year including the famous Dutch TT race.
  6. De Bonte Wever: This leisure center offers a range of activities including swimming pools with slides, bowling alleys, indoor playgrounds for children, fitness facilities, and spa treatments.
  7. City Park (Stadspark): Located in the heart of Assen, this park provides green spaces for relaxation as well as walking paths along ponds and gardens.
  8. Klimpark Outdoor Grolloo: Just a short drive from Assen lies an outdoor adventure park with challenging climbing courses among trees suitable for both adults and children.

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