Most of this impressive structure was constructed during the 11th and 12th centuries. This holy site, however, has a history which goes back much further. Dedicated to Saint Servatius who was buried on this site in 384, the small chapel which marked his grave was replaced around 570 with a much larger stone construction. In the following century the church was replaced again and then again in the 11th century.
This recreation of the Roman temple, which once stood in the nearby settlement of Ganuenta, is a fitting testament to the local goddess Nehalennia to whom it was dedicated. In the 2nd century Ganuenta was a regional centre for trade on the fringes of the Roman Empire. It is unclear whether the goddess was of Germanic or Celtic origin. What is clear is that Nehalennia was revered at this location by people from as far as northern France and western Germany.
Helping to bring the Iron Age to life is the reconstructed village of Dongen in North Brabant. Here can be found several timber structures built in styles believed to have been used during the Dutch Iron Age, as revealed by excavations at Beek and Donk. Activities like wood-working, pottery, and metalwork are carried out by volunteers in period costume. Largely catering to school groups, the site is also open to the general public on select days.
This open-air museum in Limburg showcases life in the region as it existed around the start of the 20th century. Located in a tranquil rural environment, the museum has been operational since 1990. Among its displays are a range of workshops, a farmhouse, a syrup distillery, a forge, and a sawmill, resulting in the impression of a village preserved from the past. Various traditional craft activities are displayed in the summer months.
The Prehistoric Village in Eindhoven, North Brabant helps to bring the ancient world to life. Despite its name, it covers not only the Iron Age but also the Roman and Medieval periods too. Various reconstructed buildings stand here, reflecting the architectural styles of these eras. Interpreters in period costume engage with visitors and display historic handicrafts as well as everyday activities like bread making and weaving. The site is under the control of the broader Eindhoven Museum.
Among the most famous people in Dutch history is the painter Vincent Van Gogh. At Nuenen in North Brabant you can walk through the streets where Van Gogh lived between 1883 and 1885. After visiting the Vincentre museum, make your way around the village, discovering the 14 different locations which have been immortalised through depiction in Van Gogh’s artworks. At night, the cycle path is lit up to resemble Van Gogh’s ‘The Starry Night’.
This guide to the archaeology and history sites of the Netherlands is the principle work of Max Petterson, with contributions from Thomas Dowson and Ethan Doyle White. Having obtained his Masters degree in archaeology from Leiden University, Max is now a certified archaeologist working in the Netherlands with a focus on prehistory. His MA thesis examined the practice of human sacrifice in Iron Age Northern Europe. Read More About Us and Our Backgrounds.