As the capitol of Gelderland, the biggest province of the Netherlands, Arnhem is a pretty well-known city. But the true beauty of this city is vastly underrated. Built on the rolling hills next to the river Rhine, filled with lush green parks and amazing views, it’s a city worth visiting, on and off the bike.
The rolling hills are really the city’s character. The old neighbourhoods are built against these hills and the streets go up and down, making you feel like you’re not in the Netherlands but somewhere in France. The best part about this might be that it is really nice to ride a bike within the city limits of Arnhem. Sure, you can go to the Veluwe or Posbank to get some climbing in, but the rural aspect of climbing in Arnhem is amazing as well and definitely worth the visit. LEMAR’s ambassador Merlijn knows all about these climbs and these are his favourite ones:
The Zijpendaalseweg is a real beauty. It starts right in the city centre and goes all the way up to the north-west border, making it over 2,5km long. It’s an easy climb but the views are amazing. On your left there’s the old ‘Burgemeesterswijk’ neighbourhood, filled with beautiful Dutch mansions. On your right you have amazing views over park Sonsbeek and park Zypendaal, some of the biggest and most beautiful parks of the city. Once you hit the final 500 meters the gradient goes up and almost hits 10% for a moment, but with a final push you’ll reach the top!
When you’re riding up the Bosweg for the first time, you wouldn’t expect it to be in a city. As the road slowly rises you’ll pass and old farm on your left, and on your right there’s a big grassy hill with some ‘volkstuintjes’ (allotments) on it. As you get near an intersection the road get pretty steep, and there’s three ways to go from here. You can go straight ahead and follow the Bosweg, take a right and follow the Hommelseweg, but the best option is a hard right and follow the old brick road to the ‘Steenen Tafel, a famous restaurant. The views on your right are spectacular as you rise above the treeline and get an amazing view of Arnhem.
This climb is something else. Geitenkamp is an old working-class neighbourhood, and most of it is public housing. It’s a bit less green but still a must-do when you’re in Arnhem. You’ll pass some bars and shops that are usually filled with locals, and if the weather is nice they’ll sit in front of their house too, cheering you on as you go up!
Right on the outskirts of the city you’ll find park Mariëndaal, another one of the amazing lush and green parks Arnhem has. After passing underneath the railroad you take a hard right and the road starts to rise immediately. The first part is well over 10% but after a short while it flattens out a little. Take little time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings before the road starts to climb again. When you hit the intersection take a left turn and you can ride all the way up to the Amsterdamseweg and get over 2 kilometers of climbing done!