Twente; the Home Match

When I ask any Israeli guy, Jew or Arab, between the ages of let’s say 14-60, whether they have heard of the soccer club

A Twente match we attended

I usually get a: “Yeah, sure!”, followed by one or two player names. And although they don’t know where the club is situated in Holland, or what the name stands for, they are familiar with the name “Twente”. Now, this post is not about the soccer club (which was, unfortunately, ranked down from the national league due to financial mismanagement :-(). This iloveholland post is about a beautiful Dutch area called Twente Click To Tweet, the most eastern part of the most eastern situated county, “Overijssel“, one out of the in total twelve Dutch counties

To me, Twente is home. Most of my relatives live there. It is a beautiful area which I absolutely love. I was born and raised there, until I emigrated to Israel at the age of 25

The Stallion of Twente

About the Area

Twente borders with Germany. You can either fly to Dusseldorf in Germany or to Amsterdam or even Eindhoven in The Netherlands; travelling time to Twente from all three airports is about the same, so all you have to do is book the cheaper ticket. Twente is quite different from the regular places tourists go to. It is an area of farming fields, cows, horses, forests, small lakes, and little, shallow rivers and creeks. Far less people live in Twente than in the west of The Netherlands, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and there are much less tall buildings. Twente has villages and small towns, and even the (very few) cities look more like villages because most houses are private and there are lots of open spaces and parks in between. On a bike, you ride out of any village or city within minutes and into the beautiful surroundings of farming land, forests and lakes, a real treat for nature lovers. Besides enjoying the natural beauty of the area, there is also a lot to do in Twente, some of which we will be happy to share with you in this post

Petra and two of her grandchildren enjoying the view just behind Petra’s house

The Local Dialect

Holland is a very small country, in size, comparable to Israel. The Dutch and their ancestors have always inhibited the area, and as a result, an abundance of dialects developed, differing greatly from county to county, even between areas within a county. In Twente, people speak, you guessed correctly, “Twents”, with variations that sometimes occur even between two villages that are but a few miles apart. To the untrained ear, Twents may sound more like German than for instance Dutch as spoken in Amsterdam. The Twents dialect contains many words that aren’t similar, even remotely, to their counterparts in “general, sophisticated Dutch”. This general Dutch language if you will, is based on Dutch as spoken in the West of Holland where the largest cities are situated. A citizen of Rotterdam or from any other part in the west of Holland, will not be able to understand the Twents dialect unless he has been exposed to it for a considerable length of time. Only a person who has Twents-speaking parents, grandparents, great grand parents and a few more earlier generations of Twents speakers in the family, will speak the dialect flawlessly. Learning to speak properly in the dialect, is, otherwise, simply out of the question. Take me for example. Born and raised in Twente. I can understand the dialect for the most, but, sadly enough, with a British father and a Rotterdam mum, there is no way I could ever speak Twents, even if my life depended on it. Well, you know what they say; nobody is perfect


The “Midwinter Horn”: a device, typical for Twente, invented and used during the pre-telephone era to exchange messages between farms when it was just too cold to go outside

Ah, and there is also the matter of good old prejudice. Quite a few Dutch people from the west of Holland, seem to consider “Twentenaren” (inhabitants of Twente)  as “simple farmers” or even “Germans”, neither intended complimentary. According to the Roman historian Tacitus, a Germanic (also; Gothic) tribe had settled in the area in those days. There were quite a few Northern-European tribes at the time, speaking various Germanic languages. Could this information have led to the allegation, that people from Twente are  “Germans”? The Roman historian mentions a tribe name in his scriptures: “Tuhanti” (or “Tvhanti”).  Who knows, the name “Twente” may have derived from this tribe name mentioned by Tacitus

If you have visited The Netherlands once or twice, and if you think you may recognise its sounds, I dare you to listen to this radio program, broadcast in the Twents dialect, and experience how different it really sounds from general Dutch

Well, did you recognise any Dutch? Or did it sound like “Chinese” to you? Either way, no need to worry; all you need is a little bit of English in Twente and you’ll be absolutely fine

Tree blossom in April last year, picture taken just in front of Petra’s house, Twente

Do in Twente

Spring, the best season to enjoy European nature, awakening from its winter sleep. Dutch summers are also evergreen, especially in Twente. There are numerous ways of travelling around, and Twente offers a wide variety of fun ways of exploring. Obviously, renting a (electric) bike is a great option in Holland, but check out the following possibilities

Getting Around

By Lothar Spurzem – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.0 de

In the town of Beuningen, the “Active Twente” company offers a wide variety of vehicles, from regular bikes to stepping bikes (the hottest thing currently), from various types of Italian and American scooters (Piaggios and Choppers) to kayaks for the waterways. Whether you wish to travel alone or with a family or a group, “Active Twente” will attend to your every need, hand you a map or GPS and send you off on the most beautiful routes through the area. Petra and I took a trip on scooters with them as well. I had my son with me on my scooter,  happy as can be. Another fun option of getting around is to rent a “tuk-tuk“, yes exactly, those 3-wheel vehicles you see on the road everywhere in the far East

The “Duckville” company, situated in the town of Diepenheim rents out French old-timers, the Renault 2CV: there’s no air conditioning (don’t worry, you won’t need one anyway), and no buttons to press for opening the windows…a genuine experience for your children and a trip down memory lane for you

Historic sites, Parks and Food

So, let’s say you’ve toured the area, seen the beautiful nature and have taken lots of pictures…what else is there to see and to do in the area? A lot! Here are some tips, and we will be posting more soon


A fun amusement park with rides for the whole family. The park just opened for the 2019 season on 6.3


 A small ancient village from the Middle Ages, 1300 AC, with shops from way back when, local and organic produce, art, vintage items and, last but not least, an ancient Jewish cemetery. At a walk’s distance, the Twickel Estate, a humble palace with beautiful gardens and a lush forest all around, perfect for a stroll in the woods


A beautiful, ancient artists’ village with an amazing museum exhibiting works from the renowned local artist, Ton Schulten. After Schulten had been in an accident, he began painting abstract landscapes in bright colours. The museum displays a large collection of his impressive works, but there is work of other artists on display as well. At the end of the 2019 summer holiday (23-25th of August), the annual art fair will take place in the village centre. Works of hundreds of artists and craftsmen and -women from the area and beyond, are for sale

picture taken during one of our visits to “Avatarz”


Your kids are going to absolutely love this “Climbing Forest” – Avatarz! My kids have been visiting Avatarz for many years now, literally every time I go home to Twente, and they never get bored with it; Extreme Tree Climbing. While you are having a well deserved break, your kids are (safely) climbing way up in the trees for at least two hours. At a height of approximately 6 meters, they slowly make their way from tree to tree towards a long zip line that “zips” them back to where you are sitting, relaxing, sipping your sparkling water in the sun. If you are the sportive type, by all means, join everybody up in the trees! It will be a workout you will feel for a few days to come! Next to the venue there are beautiful lakes, “The Hulsbeek”, so if you need to cool off, jump right in


A beautiful national park, known for its abundance of pink and purple heather. During WWII, the area witnessed persecution of Jews. A work camp was situated there. Jews were put to work, and towards the end of the war in 1945, they were all were sent to Auschwitz and murdered.There is a memorial site which commemorates the persecution and murder of the Jewish people, and particularly mentions a Mr. Marsman, Mr. Tielbek, Mr. Bachrach and Mr. Piksen. The latter was part of the Dutch resistance and when he tried to protect people during a round up of Jews by the Nazis, he was murdered along with them

De Lutte

a beautiful area for walking and hiking


The East of Holland is famous for its beers, especially for the world-wide known brand of Grolsch. In my hometown Hengelo, where Petra lives too, you can do a nice tour in a small brewery, taste the various types of beer and enjoy a great meal for reasonable prizes. People in Twente love pubs and cafes. Especially when the sun is out, the terraces are packed with people having a drink and enjoying each other’s company. One of the renowned cafes in Hengelo is called “De Appel”, you guessed right, “The Apple”, where I used to hang out a lot during my high school breaks, and especially during maths lessons….sorry mum!:-) You can also check out the current bar hot spot, “the Two Orphans” or cafe “the Three Musketeers“, all situated in the city centre, great for drinks and lunches. Hengelo has a few nice night clubs, so if you are a creature of the night, join the Dutch on the dance floor; they sure do love a good party 


The “Capital” of Twente, a buzzing university city, great for shopping during the day, going out in the evening and at night. There is a really great pub there called “The Tomcat” (in Dutch: “De Kater”) which also means “hangover”…great name for a pub:-) In Holland, most pubs serve great dishes so you really don’t have to look for a restaurant perse. But if you insist, Enschede has many good restaurants, especially in the market square around the central church. “El Corru” is a small Spanish restaurant, away from the city centre, yet definitely worth a visit. The Spanish owner and his local wife, friends of the family,  prepare authentic Spanish meals with ingredients brought in personally from Spain…simply lovely food

Well, that’s it for now about Twente. We will post more tips soon and we hope you’ll come over for a visit very soon


For your information: the sites we link to, do not pay us any commission. If you want to know more about the area, or if you are looking for any specific activity or destination in the area or in The Netherlands, we will be glad to help you plan your visit