Kaatsheuvel is a village in the province Noord-Brabant, located in the south of the Netherlands. The village lies north of the larger city Tilburg and belongs to the municipality Loon op Zand. The village also is close to municipalities Waalwijk and Drunen and it is close to the larger cities ‘s Hertogenbosch to the north and Breda to the west.

The name Kaatsheuvel consists of two words: Kaats and Heuvel. It is not completely sure where the name comes from. The word Heuvel means hill. The word Kaats could come from St. Catharina or ‘kaatsen’, a popular Dutch game. It is however more likely that the name of the village is a deterioration from the word Ketshoeve, the name of a former guest house.

For a long time the people of Kaatsheuvel lived from the shoe industry. The circumstances for producing shoes were ideal thanks to the oak barks and the many streamlets. Most households even had their own small shoe factory. The village thrived mainly on the shoe industry before the mayor in the 1950s decided to attract other industries to its village. That resulted in the build of theme park The Efteling on 31st May 1952, the largest theme park in the Netherlands. The tourist industry soon replaced the importance of the shoe industry.

The Efteling is the absolute main attraction of Kaatsheuvel. You can easily spend a whole day here. It is fun for everyone, young and old. It can be pretty busy during summertime since there are a lot of tourists that visit the park. During the winter the park is transformed into a real wonderland winter theme. In Kaatsheuvel you can also see the mill The Eendragt and the corn-mill The Couwenbergh. This last mill was restored in 1995 and is now home to a restaurant.

The area of Kaatsheuvel is popular for hiking and bicycling trips. Travellers to the village need a valid passport and visa. American citizens are allowed to stay up to 90 days without the use of a visa. The best time to visit the village is during daytime summer from July till August. You can also visit the village during winter for enjoying the Winter Theme of The Efteling.


Hilvarenbeek is a municipality in the south of the Netherlands near the Belgium border. It is located in the province Noord-Brabant and it lies south of the larger city Tilburg. The municipality includes the six villages Hilvarenbeek, Baarschot, Biest-Houtakker, Diessen, Esbeek and Haghorst. Every village has its own impressive church. When entering Hilvarenbeek you will see the tower of the Petrus church. The municipality has a population of around 15 thousand people.

Hilvarenbeek is surrounded by nature. There are young and old forests everywhere. The area is perfect for bicycling and walking. There are plenty of recreation routes that you can follow. The protected Vrijthof has a 300-year-old lime tree and many cosy terraces. The biggest attraction of Hilvarenbeek however is safari park the Beekse Bergen. This park consists of a safari park with African, Asian, European and Australian wildlife, an amusement park and camping opportunities. There are also museums and historical monuments for anyone that likes culture. Or enjoy different theatre and music groups.

Hilvarenbeek offers plenty of accommodations through bungalow parks, campsites, camping farms, group accommodations and hotels. The municipality is also close to the Efteling, the Autotron and the Kempen.

Travellers to Hilvarenbeek need a valid passport and visa. American citizens are allowed to stay up to 90 days without the use of a visa. The best time to visit the village is during daytime summer from July till August.

Victoria Falls Town

At the western end of the great Victoria Falls lies the Town of Victoria Falls. It is located in the province of Matabeleland North in Zimbabwe on the southern bank of the Zambezi River. Victoria Falls Town is located near Livingstone and the country Botswana. The town is a popular destination for adventurous people and sightseers. It has a population of more than 17 thousand people. The Airport of Victoria Falls is located south of the town.

Victoria Falls Town began as a settlement in 1901. The town was expanded after the opening of the railway from Bulawayo and Victoria Falls Bridge. This bridge connects Zimbabwe with the country of Zambia. The town now is the principal tourism centre for visiting the Falls. The Victoria Falls are within walking distance. There is no doubt you should visit this unbelievable falling of water. It is also a great opportunity to see the Zambezi River at sunset. You can book yourself a cruise or go white-water rafting for about $110. Or you can go canoeing or fishing. Get a magnificent view of the Falls from the Victoria Falls Hotel.

Other activities around the Falls are going on a safari, taking a sunset cruise or taking a helicopter ride. Prices vary from $45 up till $120. Safaris will stay in Zimbabwe or cross the border to Zambia or Botswana. You can also try an elephant ride or horseback safari if you like something different. Victoria Falls Town itself offers safe and comfortable accommodations. There are a few sandwich shops and fast food options, but every hotel also has a restaurant. There are plenty of tourist shops with wood and stone carvings, jewellery, t-shirts and other products.

Nationals worldwide require a valid passport and visa to enter Zimbabwe from Harare International Airport. Victoria Falls Town is relatively safe, but be aware of scam artists. Never deal money on the black market. Also beware of walking on the streets during night.


The northeastern area of the mainland of Australia is home to the state Queensland. It borders with the states Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales. Queensland has many world heritage sites, landscapes, vibrant cities, golden beaches, clear blue waters and warm temperatures. The state is named in honour of Queen Victoria. Its nickname is the Sunshine State.

The capital city is Brisbane, which has a lively atmosphere. Other cities are the popular Cairns in the north, Mount Isa, Charleville, Townsville, Port Douglas, Bundaberg, Caloundra, Noosa, Mackay, Hervey Bay, Gladstone and Rockhampton. Each city and town in Queensland has its own atmosphere but you will always enjoy real hospitality from the citizens. To the south of Brisbane lies the Gold Coast, a popular tourist area with beaches and resorts. To the north of the capital city lies Sunshine Coast, an area with many different cities.

Queensland has many amazing landscapes and natural treasures. You can visit the Great Barrier Reef, one of the great wonders of the world. It is home to more than tens of thousands of species, including colourful fish, coral, dolphins, whales and turtles. Another great site is the Daintree National Park with rainforest, swamps, beaches and mangroves. You can follow walking tracks to see this nature. In the southeast of Queensland lies Gondwana Rainforest, an extensive area of rainforests. Bloodjamulla Lawn Hill National Park also has many rainforests.

Other great national parks are Fraser Island off the Hervey Bay coast, Bunya Mountains National Park and Carnarvon National Park. You can also visit the Great Dividing Range with waterfalls and picnic areas, the Glass House Mountains, Cape York Peninsula, the white sandy beaches of Whitsunday Islands and Hinchinbrook Island.

The state of Queensland offers everything for every tourist. It has the most beautiful nature of the world, including rainforests, lakes and beaches. The people are friendly and most of the time laid-back. The climate offers warm temperatures with a subtropical to tropical climate in the east and arid climate to the west. The north has a wet season. The best time to visit Queensland depends on your destination.

Travellers to Queensland need a valid passport and visa. Citizens of America, Canada and Europe automatically after application receive a tourist visa that is valid for 12 months. It permits multiple entries into Australia for a stay of up to 3 months on each visit.

Beekse Bergen

The Beekse Bergen is located in Hilvarenbeek in the province Noord Brabant. It has been built from three components: a safari park, a fun park and a campsite. It is the biggest wildlife park in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. The park is open all year.

In Safari park the Beekse Bergen you can enjoy the African wilderness. Go on an adventure with roaring lions, running zebras and curious giraffes. There are 1.500 animals, all in their natural environment. There are rhinos, cheetahs and chimpanzees and Calimero, the biggest elephant of Europe also lives here.

Experience a safari in the summer with the sunset or experience the safari in the winter when the animals behave quite differently. Beekse Bergen Safari Park you can explore four different ways: walking , with the safari bus, the safari boat or by your own car. The safari options are to combine. The bus, boat and walking come together in the back from the park near Congo restaurant , where you can change. On the tour by bus and boat rangers tell interesting facts. And there are useful maps indicate which animals you encounter during the various safari tours. The animals are all a strict diet. Therefore it is not permitted to feed the animals. This is to prevent animals falling ill.

Beekse Bergen Safari Park also organizes special ranger camps. When the last visitors have left the park, guests are treated to an African braai meal with exciting African stories. Then follows a walk through the twilight. So the guests discover how the lions, giraffes and zebras behave at night. After a good night sleep in the tent camp, the guests will be awakened by the roaring lions and the sounds of the elephants, then there is a farm-fresh breakfast. Even before the park opens the doors, takes an experienced ranger his guests along for a ride past the awakening animals.

Speelland Beekse Bergen is a fun park for children with a lot of attractions, safe swimming water and white sandy beaches. Next to the large playground in Speelland Beekse Bergen you can enjoy playing on and around the swings, trampolines, mini-golf and balls mountain. You can enjoy activities such as go-karts, water bikes and bouncy castle or roller–skating and tennis, and you can also hire boats and bikes. There are water slides and the Aqua shuttle, which launches you from a great height. It is a fantastic experience trying a ride with the Wave rider, it is a carousel in the water and you can determine your own speed.

This part of the park will be closed during the winter.

The Campsite is a most unusual park connected with the fun park and the safari park. The park also offers delightful nature trails and a lakeside beach that’s ideal for swimming or sunbathing. At the end of the day, you can always relax and talk about the day’s adventures in the terrace bar, or over a quiet dinner in the park’s own restaurant. It is a unique holiday experience, you will be awakened by the roar of lions and have free access to the amusement and safari park.


The Efteling is the largest theme park in The Netherlands and has received over 100 million visitors. In 1992 Efteling received the IAAPA Applause Award for Best Amusement Park in the World. Efteling is located in the town of Kaatsheuvel, in the municipality of Loon op Zand. The Efteling opened in 1952 and it is one of the oldest theme parks in the world.

The Fairy Tale Forest, designed by the famous Dutch illustrator Anton Pieck, was home to some ten different fairy tales, all of them brought to life using ingenious movements and lighting and sound effects designed by the Dutch film maker Peter Reijnders. In over fifty years the park has evolved from a nature park with playground and a Fairy Tale Forest, into a full-size theme park. It is twice as large as the original. Nowadays, Efteling appeals to both young and old with its cultural, romantic and nostalgic themes and its variety of amusement rides.

There are many attractions in the Efteling, only a few I will describe.

The House of the Five Senses is the impressive main entrance. The 52- meter high wooden construction has the largest reed roof (48437 square feet/ 4500 square meters) in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records. The five peaks of the roof symbolize the Five senses, which stand for experiencing the Efteling. Besides the entrance, customer service, a souvenir shop and a toilet group are located in the building.

The Pagode has been taking off from the Efteling since 1987. This flying temple of Thai design, slowly revolves while it is up in the air. The temple extends up to 45 meters above the ground and has a diameter of 16 meters. You can see it rise above the trees when you are on your way to the Efteling and when you are approaching the park. Even if you are afraid of heights, you shouldn’t miss this spectacular view . As you sit down on one of the long benches, the Pagode calmly and very gradually takes you up and the temple twists full circle. The Efteling looks incredible from up there!

PandaDroom was officially opened by Prince Bernhard in 2002. This attraction was created in close cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund. PandaDroom was a gift to the visitors to the park to mark the Efteling’s 50th anniversary. The 3D film Panda is an unforgettable experience, it shows you just how beautiful nature really is. You can feel the wind and the spray from the ocean, so real.

The VogelRok landed in the Efteling in 1998. This indoor roller-coaster rides in the dark and moves at a speed of 65 km/h. The ride takes 1.41 minutes from start to finish. In Carnival Festival figures from all over the world will take you on an exciting journey to explore their countries, their national dress and to find out how they make music. You’ll get a taste of China, France, England, Alaska, Mexico and so on. You pas 15 different countries and 270 different dolls at a speed of 1.8 km/h. The ride is 240 meters long and takes 8 minutes.

Besides the amusement park is also the theater, the four-star Efteling Hotel, build in 1992, with fairy tale rooms, the 18-hole golf course and the new holiday park with bungalows.

Schouwen Duiveland

Schouwen Duiveland is a part of the province Zeeland. The Brouwersdam connects Schouwen Duiveland with Goeree-Overflakkee in South Holland. The dam is a part of the Delta Works. The Isle of Schouwen Duiveland is the sunniest part of the Netherlands. There are a lot of nice places like Brouwershaven, Haamstede, Renesse en Zierikzee. Near the Brouwersdam there is a perfect place for sailing and surfing. Zeil & Surfcentrum Brouwersdam, since 1993, all year open, for beginner or advanced and for young and old.

Whether you are an individual or in a group, the test center offers a wide range of equipment, from adequate beginner’s equipment through to the most recent top boards and rigs in there renting service. You can follow the first steps of the beginners or admire jumps and maneuvers of the Brouwersdam Locals from our sun terrace. From 2009 there is a new attraction: The Water jump. There are three different lanes available. The first one is about 4 meters, slide down en jump, feel the weightlessness. The second is bigger, you can body slide, but can jump with BMX or inline-skates as well. The third is specially made for ski- and snowboard- jumping.

The lighthouse of Haamstede graced on the banknotes of 250 Dutch guilders. It is the model of a classic lighthouse. The red spiral was applied to it at 1937, as warning low flying aircraft. The light is standing 58 meter above sea level and reaches30 sea mile far. It is called Lighthouse Westerlicht and is located in the dunes of Westenschouwen.

Renesse has a lively city center, with its numerous small restaurants and shops. The beaches of the North Sea takes less than a 15 minutes’ walk and when you don’t like the walk the local bus-transport to the beaches is free of cost. There are extensive dune areas with sealed roads for cyclists. Near the transferium there is the Attraction park Ecoscope, an activities centre about nature, landscapes and durable energy. It’s a combination of education and entertainment. Ecoscope throw an look in the future and show us what kind of possibilities the consumer has, to happen on an responsible manner with the environment.

Zierikzee is a small city, it received city rights in 1248 and was an independent municipality until 1997. In 1953, Zierikzee was damaged by a catastrophic flood. The English town of Hatfield sent help and a friendship has developed. The two towns have been twinned. The city is connected to the Oosterschelde by a 2 km long canal, the channel is mainly used by tourist boats. A beautiful old ship makes a trips every day on the Oosterschelde. In Zierikzee there is the Maritiem Museum where you find a exposition about the rich maritime history of Zierikzee. It is located in the sixteenth-century city jail.

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