Ride from Ammersoyen castle to ʼs-Hertogenbosch

For this week’s ride I stayed close to home but we went back in time for a couple of centuries at Ammersoyen castle in the present day town of Ammerzoden in the province of Gelderland. This archetypical medieval castle was built in the 1300s. Even though in a different province, it is only a leisurely 11 kilometres back to the centre of ʼs-Hertogenbosch from this lovely castle. During the ride the cycling infrastructure varies but is always easy and convenient. It’s fast too. Thanks to only a few short stops the 11km long ride took just a little over half an hour.

Billet en français

Ammersoyen castle. You cannot see the moat, but the castle is surrounded by water. The bridge to the entrance is visible to the left.

Ammersoyen Castle was built around the years 1300 to 1325 on the banks of a former meander of the river Maas (Meuse). It was immediately built in the shape it has today; square with four corner towers. That is unusual, most castles start off smaller and are expanded over time. The castle is an exceptionally well preserved example of a medieval moated castle. In 1590, during the Eighty Years’ War a.k.a. the Dutch War of Independence (from Spain, from 1568 to 1648) the strategically located castle was destroyed and it was only rebuilt half a century later, after the Dutch gained independence. Two gable stones in the façade dated 1648 and 1667 commemorate the reconstruction. While the exterior kept its medieval appearance, the interior was rebuilt in then contemporary 17th century style. In 1873, the catholic church bought the castle and turned it into a convent. The sisters left the castle after it was heavily damaged in World War II. Reconstruction only started in 1959 and after 16 years the fully restored castle could be opened to the public for the first time in its history in 1975. The castle is still open to visits and you can have a drink or a coffee in one of the outbuildings. After a Saturday afternoon visit we cycled back to ʼs-Hertogenbosch and I filmed the ride home. More information about that ride in the captions of the pictures in this post.

The village of Ammerzoden has a 30km/h traffic calmed zone in the village centre. This has become very common in most Dutch towns and villages in the last two decades.
Since it was a Saturday afternoon, the time to do shopping for most Dutch, it was rather busy with people in cars visiting the village from the entire region. The Dutch cycle less in such rural areas and that is clearly visible in the streets.
The moment the speed limit is raised from 30km/h to 50km/h the separate cycling infrastructure starts. This is perfectly in line with the design recommendations which strongly advise that any road with a 50km/h speed limit should have protected cycleways.
Outside the built-up area the speed limit goes further up to 80km/h. The concrete surface of the cycleways may well date back to the 1930s when such roads were first constructed. This type of roads was also the first kind to have separate cycling infrastructure in the Netherlands. Roads like these were often financed by taxes paid for owning a bicycle. The cycle taxes were abolished in the 1940s because the cost for administration had become higher than the revenue.
When drivers want to enter the road they also need to pay attention to people cycling. These two drivers wait patiently for the cyclists to go first. That is made easier by a good space to wait. It would even have been better if they could wait between the cycleway and the roadway, but that is usually only at larger side streets and not at a drive way of a shop which this is.
Roundabouts can be found all over the Netherlands. This one is not entirely built to standards (the cycleway is not perfectly circular) but cycling does have priority at this roundabout, that is in line with the latest design standards.
In the built-up area of Hedel there is also a 30km/h zone. This may look like a mini roundabout but the circle is in fact a circular speed bump on an already raised table at the intersection.
The moment the speed rises to 50km/h there are on-street cycle lanes. The design manual recommends separate cycling infrastructure on such streets, but the Netherlands does still have many on-street cycle lanes.
Good to see that drivers in this rural area do give people priority on the crossings. That is not always the case in more busy urban settings.
The bridge over the river Maas (Meuse). This used to be the main north-south road in the Netherlands until the motorway bridge for the A2 was built in the 1970s. The river is also the provincial border and it was much wider recently. In this picture the floodplains were dry. It was completely different in the recent floodings.
The sign to remind people they are entering the province of North-Brabant is on the bank but the actual border is in the middle of the river. You also immediately enter the municipality of the ʼs-Hertogenbosch, because the capital of Brabant is located at its northern border.
This cycleway will become part of the high speed cycle route to Zaltbommel. It already has the width of a main cycle route.
The wide and smooth cycleway leads people quickly to the edge of the built-up area of ʼs-Hertogenbosch.
Here we pass the intersection that was reconstructed last year. The greenery and the trees (partly relocated) are growing well!
The dynamic sign to inform people how to get across this main intersection diagonally in the fastest way was unfortunately not working. I notice that I often ride too fast and the sign only shows the fastest route while you’ve passed it. When other people cycle in front of me I can see that. I then follow what they were advised to do. In this case we chose to go right first and then left. It was not a long wait.
These boys were jumping off the bridge into the water of a river. The woman told them that this is dangerous and illegal. She was very right, but I fear the boys were not impressed. They were also in my way, but they did not respond to my ringing either.
This intersection in ʼs-Hertogenbosch was upgraded a few years ago. I wrote about it at the time.
Brugstraat is an unusual street in ʼs-Hertogenbosch with on-street cycle lanes. These people demonstrate why on-street cycle lanes will always be problematic. Fortunately, it is only a short stretch in the entire route.
The end of the ride as I filmed it. The entrance to the underground bicycle parking facility at ʼs-Hertogenbosch station.
Ride video; 11 km in 33 minutes or an average speed of 20km/h.

3 thoughts on “Ride from Ammersoyen castle to ʼs-Hertogenbosch

  1. This looks to be a very nice route to cycle, and the castle appears to be very well preserved.

    I hope that the recovery efforts from the devastating flooding are going well; and, I hope there are no more floods for you all to contend with.

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