Hunebedden (in English: Dolmen) are ancient tombs located in the north of the Netherlands and consists of three or more rocks (megaliths). The entire history behind these tombes are still a mystery. Some are even thought of being used as sanctuaries. Most of them are located in the province Drenthe. In total, 52 are still intact today in Drenthe (and 2 in Groningen). 2 of those 52 are located in the small town of Havelte. Dolmen can be found all over Europe and even the world! Read on for more about this short trip!
The hunebedden of Havelte are located on the Havelterberg, a green area with a lot of rich history. This hilly sight was created during the last ice age, which also explains how the huge rocks got drifted to the mainland of Europe. besides the hunebedden, Havelterberg is a nice place to walk or ride a bicycle. Good thing to know, Havelte is within 20 minutes of drive from the famous Giethoorn village!
There is no entrance fee to enter the premesis. Just get there early so you can take some great pictures in private!
The hunebedden in Havelte date back between 3,400 and 3,100 BC. They are labeled as D53 and D54.
D53 is the biggest one of the two and the first one you will encounter once you enter the park. It is 18,9 meters long and 4,4 meters wide and consists of 32 huge rocks. When you approach it, it looks like there is a gateway underneath, just like a small house. In 1918 a big research took place at D53, retrieving hundreds shards of pots, an arrowhead, some beads and an amber stone.
During World War II was demolished by the German troops. They burried the rocks under sand to make room for a nearby landing strip. During the liberation of the Netherlands in 1944-1945 the landing strip got bombed. After the liberation in 1949, the rocks were put back to their original stand on the spot of origine. Thanks to sketches from the 19th century this could happen in detail, saving the authentic of the hunebed.
D53 is the second biggest hunnebed of the Netherlands. As you can see in the pictures, a great space for kids (and us big kids) to fool around!
D54 is located in the sand just a stone throw away from D53. It is the most southern located hunebed of the Netherlands. Unlike D53, D54 never got researched. It counts 23 rocks and is 12,7 meters long and 3,3 meters wide.
During World War II the German troops burried D54 under sand to prevent the allied forces to gain an adventage point to the nearby landing strip. After the war was over, the hunebed was dug out again.
Good things to know
There is a 3D-atlas free online which shows all the hunebedden in the Netherlands. Just check out this website.
Giethoorn is only 20 minutes drive away, be sure to combine a trip!
If we can recommend a place to stay, there is a beautiful B&B in Havelte which is located on a winery. Check their estate on booking.com HERE. We highly recommend the great breakfast service and view :-)!