Winterswijk

A unique village with a rich history

Winterswijk is probably more than 1,000 years old, but German coins dating back to Roman times have also been found in the area. The region's long history is visible in the landscape. The tradition of gentlemen farmers, known as 'scholten', means that many of the estates are still privately owned. This combined with local agricultural developments resulted in the creation of a very varied and interesting landscape in Winterswijk.

The beauty of the area attracts many tourists who are well catered for. The thriving village centre offers a wide variety of shops, restaurants and terraces. The farmers' market on Saturday is highly recommended. It was once voted the best farmers' market in the Netherlands.

There is also an annual folk festival in Winterswijk. On the last Friday and Saturday in August there is a party in the village, with a magnificent flower parade, a fair, live music and play facilities for children. It's a weekend that's worth experiencing at least once. The Winterswijk Folk Festival is included in the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Netherlands.

Winterswijk is also famous as the home of Obelink, one of the largest outdoor equipment superstores in the Netherlands. With 65,000 square metres of retail space, it's an adventure all on its own.

The geology of Winterswijk is very unusual. In fact, the soil in Winterswijk is known as the mosaic floor of the Netherlands. This is one of the few areas where there are outcrops of so-called Muschelkalk. A stone quarry was established here almost 100 years ago. It was the first of three quarries, one of which, a chalk quarry, is still in use. The other two quarries and the surrounding area have since been converted into unique nature reserves. One of the main inhabitants is the eagle owl, which breeds in one of the quarries. The stone quarry has been found to contain unique fossils.  In fact, palaeontologists have made remarkable finds that appear to be a missing link between two prehistoric periods. Because of the unique and fragile ecosystem in the two disused quarries, and also to ensure safety where quarrying is still being carried out, the quarries are only open to the public at certain times. You can enter the quarry during the Stone Quarry Festival, when the quarry is transformed into a unique concert venue, and also under the supervision of the Geological Society. The stone quarry is not far from Het Wieskamp.

For more information about visiting the stone quarry and other things to see and do in Winterswijk, see the section on Things to see and do

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