Apeldoorn, Netherlands


Apeldoorn (Low Saxon: Apeldoorne) is a city in the Dutch province of Gelderland. It is the capital of the eponymous municipality. The municipality has 164,140 inhabitants (source: CBS).

The city had 138,235 inhabitants as of January 1, 2020. Because Ugchelen is officially part of the Apeldoorn Southwest district, the population of the urban area is approximately 148,000 inhabitants. Apeldoorn only developed into one of the larger towns in the country from the beginning of the 20th century.

Apeldoorn, together with Deventer and Zutphen, is one of the main towns in a cooperation region of municipalities in the provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel known as the Stedendriehoek. Apeldoorn is known for its city parks and its 'green' character. Characteristic is the Apeldoorn house structure, with many monumental and detached houses and relatively few high-rise buildings. With approximately 100,000 jobs, Apeldoorn is an important employment center in the central and eastern Netherlands.



The history of Apeldoorn goes back to the year 792 when it was mentioned as "villa ut marca Appoldro" in a deed of gift.

It originated on the edge of the high middle part of the Veluwe, a place that was suitable for agriculture in the early Middle Ages. It was a place where the soil was light enough to work and where there was also enough water. The first part of the name is the early medieval form apa 'water', which also occurs in Appen, Epe and Wilp, among others. Apeldoorn is located in a concentration of apa names. The second part originated from the form treo, 'tree'. The original meaning of Apeldoorn and also of Appeltern in the Betuwe and of Appeldorn in Westphalia was roughly 'trees standing near a water'.

In the beginning and the centuries thereafter Apeldoorn was a small village consisting of a few houses. When the paper industry took off towards the end of the 16th century, Apeldoorn grew rapidly. In 1684 William III of Orange bought the house Het Loo and also had Paleis Het Loo built because Apeldoorn was centrally located in a hunting area. After that several members of the royal family lived in the palace, until the death of Queen Wilhelmina. Louis Napoleon would also have used Paleis Het Loo as a summer residence. Paleis Het Loo has been a museum since 1984.

In order to boost employment and the economy and thus the growth of Apeldoorn, King Willem I had the Apeldoorn Canal dug from his own resources, which runs from the IJssel near Hattem to Apeldoorn and was completed in 1829. Later, in 1868, this canal was extended to Dieren, where it also connects to the IJssel. The northern part largely follows the canal De Grift, which was built in the Middle Ages. At the same time, King William I donated a third of the capital needed for the construction of a gravel path (largely along the canal), which significantly shortened the travel time between Arnhem and Zwolle. In 1876 Apeldoorn was connected to the national railway network. The latter resulted in an increase in activity, but the importance of the Apeldoorns Kanaal decreased as a result. The northern part was closed in 1962, followed by the southern part in 1972.



During the Second World War, the city was spared major war damage. However, the deportations of Jews started earlier than elsewhere.


Deportations of Jews

In October 1941, according to the Jewish Historical Museum in Apeldoorn, the government registered 1,549 Jews. They included a large number of refugees as well as patients and nurses from the city's two Jewish nursing homes. The arrests and deportations started early in Apeldoorn, in October 1941. In the course of 1942 most of the Jewish residents of Apeldoorn were deported. At the beginning of January 1943 the remaining ones had to go to Het Apeldoornsche Bosch. 592 of the original Apeldoorn Jews did not survive the war. There is a monument dedicated to them.

In 1909, a large Jewish psychiatric hospital, Het Apeldoornsche Bosch, had been built on Zutphensestraat, which at that time was still outside Apeldoorn. Under the personal supervision of SS officer Ferdinand aus der Fünten and camp commander Albert Gemmeker, in January 1943, the 1,200 patients of Het Apeldoornsche Bosch, some still in straitjackets, others under medication or in blind panic, were taken to the station in dump trucks, where they were herded into a waiting freight train. The destination was Auschwitz, where they were immediately killed. A small part of the staff went with this train, the other staff members were taken to Camp Westerbork with the other Jews still staying in Apeldoorn.


New government center

In 1942 Seyss-Inquart had decided for security reasons that Apeldoorn should become the government center and that all important services would leave The Hague to be housed in Apeldoorn or the surrounding area, such as in Velp, Arnhem and Nijmegen. In the event of an invasion from the sea, the various services would still have time to retreat to the interior of Das Reich. Initially this plan was blocked by Himmler, but in 1943 the first services left for Apeldoorn, followed in 1944 by more services.


Seyss-Inquart headquarters

The headquarters of the German High Command was located in Apeldoorn during the second half of the war. Arthur Seyss-Inquart and Hanns Rauter had their office here when they found it too dangerous in The Hague. Rauter was nursed in Apeldoorn after he was injured by the attack at Woeste Hoeve.


Woeste Hoeve

After the start of Operation Market Garden on September 17, 1944, Arnhem and the places in the immediate vicinity were evacuated by order of the occupying forces. About 30,000 of the evacuees ended up in Apeldoorn, a considerable burden on the city, which had 70,000 inhabitants at the start of the war. There was immediately a food shortage. As a result, an Apeldoorn resistance group near Woeste Hoeve committed an unintentional attack on the highest SS man in the Netherlands, General Hanns Albin Rauter in the night of 6 to 7 March 1945. The purpose of the resistance was to acquire a German army vehicle; it was not known that Rauter was in the car. Geert Gosens' resistance group was ordered to pick up the meat from a slaughterhouse in Epe by truck before the Germans would do so. Rauter was seriously injured but survived the shootout. In reprisal, the Germans had several hundred prisoners executed, of which 117 at Woeste Hoeve.


Executions and raids

On October 2, 1944, the occupiers executed 8 resistance fighters and 2 allied airmen. The bodies were scattered throughout the city. That same afternoon, the occupiers held a raid, during which eleven thousand men were picked up for digging on the IJssellinie. Four thousand of them were actually deployed; the rest could go home again. On December 2, 1944, a second raid followed, again preceded by executions, this time of twelve resistance fighters and one allied airman, at the Koning Willem III barracks. The corpses were not now distributed throughout the city. The memorial Het Keienmonument on Sportlaan was erected for them in 1946.

The train that subsequently transported the forced laborers was shot at by Allied fighter-bombers on 3 December 1944 near the German village of Werth, 3 kilometers south of the border with the Netherlands (the Achterhoek), killing 20 people. During this raid, 4,500 men were taken to Rees, also just across the border in Germany, where they were housed in a brick factory. However, this was completely unusable as a lodging.


The Liberation

In April 1945, when the Canadians managed to liberate Apeldoorn as far as the Apeldoorn Canal, the Canadians intended to shoot heavily the rest of Apeldoorn. However, the Germans were already withdrawing. To prevent civilian casualties, two resistance fighters crossed the guarded Apeldoorns Kanaal at night to warn the Canadians. As a result, the city was easily liberated by the 48th Highlanders of Canada on April 17.


Canadian Liberation Memorial

Apeldoorn has owned the National Canadian Liberation Memorial since 2 May 2000. This was established as a tribute to the great Canadian contribution to the liberation of the Netherlands. Nearly six thousand Canadian soldiers lost their lives. Canada and Apeldoorn have a special relationship with each other, because towards the end of the war the last Canadian headquarters was located in Paleis Het Loo. The initiative for the creation of the monument came from the National Canadian Monument Committee. Princess Margriet unveiled the monument. The largest Canadian war cemetery in the Netherlands is located in Holten, 40 km to the east. Ugchelen-Heidehof cemetery (municipality of Apeldoorn) contains 56 RAF pilots and one British pioneer.

A bronze replica of the statue ('Twin Monument') can be found at Dow's Lake in the Canadian capital Ottawa. This memorial was unveiled on May 11, 2002, also by Princess Margriet.


After the war

On October 7, 1946, twenty-two students of the Christian H.B.S. killed in a plane crash.

In the 1960s, government departments (Tax, Domains, Land Registry) settled in Apeldoorn, along with many other companies. The number of residents grew rapidly again. To this end, the neighborhoods De Maten (30,000 inhabitants) and Zevenhuizen (22,000 inhabitants) were built in the 60s and 70s of the 20th century. Zevenhuizen owns the first real high-rise houses in Apeldoorn.

On April 30, 2009, on Queen's Day, just while the royal bus was passing through to Paleis Het Loo, several spectators were hit by a car. As a result of this attack, which was presumably aimed at the royal family, eight people were killed and about ten injured.



Before 1600
792: Apeldoorn first mentioned in a deed of gift → "villa ut marca Appoldro"
Late 16th century: Rapid growth due to paper industry

17th century
1684: William III of Orange buys house Het Loo and builds Het Loo Palace in a central hunting area

18th century
1701: New Order Mill built, flourishing paper industry

19th century
1820: The first villas in the De Parken district are built
1829: Apeldoorns Kanaal is completed, commissioned by King Willem I to promote the economy
1868: Canal extended to Dieren, connecting to the IJssel
1868: King Willem III donates capital for the construction of a gravel path, accessibility Arnhem-Zwolle

1876: Apeldoorn connected to the railway network, decreasing importance of Apeldoorns Kanaal
1877: Royal Schools Community (KSG)
1890: William III of the Netherlands dies in Apeldoorn
1898: Parish church Maria of the Assumption

20th century
1909: The Apeldoornsche Bosch, a Jewish psychiatric hospital, is established in Apeldoorn
1910: Construction of Juliana Tower
1913: Gymnasium Apeldoorn
1919: Theological University established in Apeldoorn
1920: Barnabas Church
1927: Juliana Church
1930: Mennonite Church
1931: Regentess Church
1932: Reformed Zuiderkerk
1934: Reformed Good Shepherd Church
1935: Archiepiscopal Minor Seminary (current police academy)
1935: Teuge International Airport opens
1939: Roman Catholic Saint Theresa Church
1940: Photo vocational school to Apeldoorn

1941: Government registers 1,549 Jews in Apeldoorn, of which 592 will die
1943: 1200 patients from Het Apeldoornsche Bosch deported to Auschwitz
1943: German headquarters located in Het Apeldoornsche Bosch
1944: Arnhem and surroundings evacuated; 30,000 evacuees end up in Apeldoorn, which had 70,000 inhabitants before the war
1944: Food shortages
1945: Apeldoorn resistance group unintentionally attacks highest SS officer
1945: Apeldoorn liberated by Canadians
1945: Canadian headquarters located in Paleis Het Loo

Second half of the 20th century
1954: First edition of the International Four-Day Walking Tours Apeldoorn
1955: Roman Catholic Victor Church
1959: The Church of the Reformed Congregations
1960: Headquarters of the Land Registry established in Apeldoorn
1962: Wilhelmina of the Netherlands dies in Apeldoorn
1962: Northern section of Apeldoorns Kanaal closed
1965: Schouwburg Orpheus opens in Apeldoorn, one of the largest in the Netherlands
1967: Prince Bernharddal amusement park relocated and added to the Koningin Juliana Toren
1967: Zevenhuizen (22,000 inhabitants) built with the first high-rise houses in the Anklaar / Sprenkelaar neighborhoods
1968: Centraal Beheer Achmea established in Apeldoorn
1970: The National Computer Center (RCC) established in Apeldoorn
1971: Apenheul founded
1971: World Cyclo-Cross Championship
1972: Southern section of Apeldoorns Kanaal closed
1973: Archiepiscopal Minor Seminary (1935) put into use by police
1975: Veluwsche Stoomtrein Maatschappij founded
1975: Largest tax office in the Netherlands located in Apeldoorn
1980: De Maten district built with 30,000 inhabitants
1983: Evangelical Missionary Congregation Menorah
1984: Het Loo Palace opened as a museum
1986: Centraal Beheer Achmea starts with 'just call Apeldoorn' as an advertisement
1999: Cultuur Onder Dak Apeldoorn (CODA) built in Apeldoorn

21st century
2000: National Canadian Liberation Memorial established
2005: First edition of the Dragon Boat Festival, a mix of boating and culture
2006: International trains stop at Apeldoorn station
2007: New building of ROC Aventus offers space for more than eight thousand students
2008: Opening Omnisport
2009: Queen's Day, attack with eight dead and ten injured near Paleis Het Loo
2010: Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences moves from Deventer to Apeldoorn
2010: Police Academy moves completely to Apeldoorn
2011: Track Cycling World Championships in Omnisport
2016: Saxion University of Applied Sciences located in Apeldoorn
2016: First stage of the Tour of Italy in Apeldoorn
2017: Serious Request will take place from 18 to 24 December on the Market Square
2018: Track Cycling World Championships
2019: World Paracycling Championships
2019: The national arrival of Sinterklaas will take place on November 16



Apeldoorn is best known for the advertisements of Centraal Beheer ("just call Apeldoorn") and for attractions such as Apenheul, Julianatoren and Paleis Het Loo. Apeldoorn is also the urban center of the Netherlands' largest continuous forest and nature reserve, the Veluwe.

In De Parkenbuurt, north of the center, there are many old mansions, sometimes richly decorated with ornaments. According to Apeldoorn standards there is a lot of green in this district. In 2005 the district became a protected cityscape.

The Berg en Bos residential area is characterized by its spacious layout, 'meandering' avenues and a constellation of the existing buildings and the still ubiquitous afforestation. The district is often compared to the residential areas in Blaricum and Laren (Het Gooi). The Boschbad and the Berg & Bos Nature Park are located on the edge of this district.


The center of Apeldoorn is a mixture of old and new. The old village center is easily recognizable in parts of the center. There are about 580 monumental objects in the entire city, divided into approximately 450 municipal monuments and "iconic buildings" and 132 national monuments. The municipality refers to the city as "a typical 19th century monument city". However, old shop premises in particular have often been radically modernized, at least on the ground floor, as a result of which they have lost much of their original character. The center mainly has a modern appearance. There are many shopping opportunities, mainly concentrated along the Hoofdstraat and the covered shopping center the Oranjerie. However, as in many cities, the vast majority of shops are branches of the national large chains and there are relatively few local or specialty shops. The municipality of Apeldoorn has made plans to make the city center more attractive in the coming years, so that it can eventually compete with the inner cities of cities comparable in size, such as Arnhem and Nijmegen.

In the center of Apeldoorn, an old brook, the Grift, has been brought back above ground in the context of "revive the brook". This stream was part of the many streams that Apeldoorn and surroundings have to offer. These sprinkles were largely moved underground, but are now being "reopened" again.

The Heidehof cemetery in Ugchelen (a village close to Apeldoorn) was built in the Veluwe woods near Apeldoorn. The cemetery contains allied soldiers killed in World War II. The Crematorium Heidehof is also located there; the two are legally separate from each other.


Art and culture

National Museum Paleis Het Loo
CODA (Cultuur Onder Dak Apeldoorn) is a combination of the central library, the former Van Reekum and the former Apeldoorn Historical Museum.
Museum of the Chancellery of the Dutch Orders of Knighthood
Veluwsche Stoomtrein Maatschappij
Apeldoornse Bosch Memorial Center
The Dutch Police Museum, closed in 2007 and merged with the PIT Security Museum in Almere in 2014.
Museum for Art in Public Space



Schouwburg Orpheus is one of the five largest theaters in the Netherlands.
Podium & Filmtheater Gigant houses a pop hall, two cinemas and a theater. The theater is also used as a third cinema.
Vue Cinemas provides the commercial film offering.
The ACEC (Apeldoorn Center for Contemporary Culture) is an exhibition space and activity center. In addition to changing exhibitions, various events take place, such as (music) performances, lectures and workshops.



The annual jazz music festival Jazz in the Woods.
The Tempo Doeloe festival is a Dutch East Indies event that takes place every year on the third Friday of August.
The Highlands Festival, an open-air film festival in Berg & Bos Nature Park.
Sparkling Apeldoorn is an annual beer festival.
The Harley Day Apeldoorn on Whit Monday.
On the evening before King's Day (called 'Prinsennacht' in Apeldoorn), the Stationsdance event takes place every year in the evening.
In the summer period, the annual festival Lumido takes place in Berg & Bos Nature Park. The park is illuminated in various colors at night, with various show elements on the water.
Open Air Film Festival. In Berg & Bos Nature Park, top films are shown every year in an outdoor cinema on a large screen for a week.
The annual Dragon Boat Festival on the Apeldoorn Canal in the center.
Dance tour. Since 2008, this dance event has taken place annually in August on the Market Square.
From 2010, the Roots in the Woods fall festival will take place annually in the third week of October.
In 2017, 3FM Serious Request (3FM Serious Request 2017) was organized in Apeldoorn. That year the glass house was on the market square in the city center.
In 2019 the national arrival of Sinterklaas took place in Apeldoorn.