The climbing wall at Spaarnwoude in Velsen Valley is one of the Haarlem area’s hidden gems, guaranteed to give you a good workout with a great view.
The rock climbing complex and lookout point is also a work of landscape art created by Dutch sculptor, Frans de Wit. This is the largest publicly accessible climbing object in The Netherlands, according to climbing platform, The Crag.
There are two structures to explore:
Two enormous, imposing concrete discs wedged between a hill-like formation of irregularly stacked concrete blocks. If you don’t feeling like climbing, you can take the narrow staircase between the disks. It looks like a canyon in the middle of the artificial hill.
This is an excellent place for kids and adults to clamber around. When we were there families were picnicking on the lawn but as there is little shade this spot will be very exposed on a hot day.
The other structure (also the work of sculptor Frans de Wit) is an artificial climbing wall constructed using concrete blocks. These blocks were cast in moulds made from rocks found in the Ardennes region of Belgium.
If you’re into more serious rock-climbing and have safety gear, this is the wall for you. However, please follow the rules so that you don’t get injured. Children under the age of 18 must be supervised by an adult and you have to use safety equipment.
While you’re at the climbing wall, walk up to the “uitzichtheuvel” (lookout point). From there you can see the Spaarnwoude “hills”.
The area was a designated site to dispose large waste items such as furniture, appliances and building rubble (anything that’s too big to fit into a trash bag). Many years later, about 9 million cubic metres of waste was transformed into artificial hills by landscaping the area, filling it in with soil as well as planting trees and grass.
What a transformation!
Good to know
- The wall is sometimes closed in summer for festivals. This should not be a problem this year as large events are not allowed yet in The Netherlands due to the Corona pandemic. When events do start up again, keep an eye on this Facebook page to check if it’s open or closed.
- Access is free.
- To get there by car, head towards SnowWorld in Velsen-Zuid (note: the website is called “SnowWorld Amsterdam” but it isn’t in Amsterdam, but Velsen). Just behind it you will find a small parking area.
- To get there by bike, see the map below for directions.
Westbroekplas in Velserbroek is another beautiful outdoor area to explore and it is only 12 minutes by bike from the climbing wall. It has a beautiful city beach, a circular walking route (great for dogs) and a restaurant.
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