Top 5 Highlights Hillegom
If you are interested in history then you must visit Hillegom. This village has traces of the Six family, a noble family and today the present Jan Six X is still baron of Hillegom. In 1722 the family bought the Hillegom Manor for 18.500 guilders. The village flourished, a village pump was constructed, dirt roads were paved and part of the stream was straightened. The sandy dune area surrounding the village was excavated and prepared for vegetable farming. Hillegom received the rights to sell products in Amsterdam. The house, the pump, the stream but also landmarks and memorials aid us to historically remember all of the Six family. It is not only the history and the generosity of this family that is interesting but also their still existing ties with the village. Hillegom also has a museum with vintage Ford cars, the oldest dating back to 1903 and the youngest 1949.
Hillegom is a village with numerous activities, young or old, whatever the weather, there is something for everyone. During the summer months the outdoor swimming pool “De Vosse” is open. Besides swimming, you can also enjoy a day there, relaxing and sunbathing on the large lawn. During the winter months the indoor ski slope is open where you can practice on a rolling ski belt. Especially with teenagers a visit to the paintball / laser game hall is a guaranteed hit. In this recreated village setting, the adrenaline will rise as you shoot and be shot at. If your interest lies in fishing then for anglers there is the park “De Zuilen” where there are three huge ponds for trout fishing.
Those preferring a bike ride, there are numerous quiet country roads around the area, taking you along the bulb fields as you go. The fields are so colourful during the spring but also during the summer months there are flowers to be seen, such as gladioli ensuring that there is something to see during the rest of the year. If you plan to take flowers home, you can always visit one of the two “pick- your – own” gardens.
For keen hikers Hillegom is an excellent choice. Along the Hillegomerbeek is a beautiful, winding footpath, with a view of the bulb fields. Rather special is the botanic garden “Hillegomse Heemtuin”, that is situated next to the canal (Ringvaart), different sorts of botanic plants grow there, such as woodruff, soapwort and primrose. A place that, just for a while, you may feel as though you are the only person on earth. The same feeling might occur if you walk through the “Lokhorstduijn” (Lokhorst dune), there you can see how the bulb area looked before the excavation of the dune sand surrounding Hillegom. Also the first part of an extensive network of footpaths that will be constructed in 2014.There is a sandy footpath that will take you past the bulb fields. Its starting point is “Leidsevaart” and it leads you to the Zilkerbinnenweg. If you carry on for another kilometer, you will enter the nature reserve Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen where you can walk for hours and lose the way just by enjoying the nature.
Locals (Hillegommers) enjoy socialising. Often, local pubs and cafť s organise activities and there are also annual village festivities for young and old. There are many events during the spring months, especially when the bulbs are in flower. In June there is the” Smartlappenfestival”, in August the annual market and in September the autumn festivals, organised by the Association Harddraverij Hillegom. Funfair, traditional Dutch games and also horse racing events, which is extremely popular among the locals. There is a poetry festival every November and the village now has a collection of three bundles with poetry.
Hillegom is the place to visit for those with an authentic taste. There are numerous shops and businesses that produce and sell various local products for an affordable price. On the Leidsestraat is a small farmers shop called “Elsbroekerwei”. Behind the shop are fields where a herd of “Blaarkoppen” cattle are bred and fattened for consumption, it is possible to purchase the meat at the farm shop. Across the road from the farm shop is a brewery called “Tom Thumb” producing its own beer with unusual names, such as Slobberbok and Hillegomse Hangkous. You can visit the tasting room and see how it is made, and how it tastes. There is a chocolate shop in the village center called “Chocolaterie Pierre”, the local beer from the brewery is also used as one of the ingredients to make the chocolates. There is a variety of cafes and restaurants in various price ranges. Wherever you decide to eat, you will always receive the warmest of welcomes and hospitality.