Route: Hertog Hendrikpad (Netherlands)

Submitted by erikvankempen on Sun, 07/23/2023 - 07:09am
82 km
Vertical Gain
522 m

The Hertog Hendrikpad is a circular route around Eindhoven and is 82 km long. The path is named after Duke Henry I of Brabant, who granted city rights to the city of Eindhoven in 1232.

It is astonishing that this circular walk can be made by the hiker mostly along unpaved paths and in the middle of nature while the 'big city' is never far away.

The varied route passes through heathlands, through small-scale farmlands, through marshy forests, along (once again) meandering streams like the Dommel and Tongelreep, and past watermills, castles, and remnants of an industrial history. You will pass through typical Brabant villages such as Aalst, Heeze, Sterksel, and Geldrop.


This circular route around Eindhoven has roughly four characteristics: The start and finish are located in the heart of the city at the railway station. The architects of the Duke Henry Path did not focus on the industrial development of this bustling city but rather take you directly within the influence area of the Dommel's watershed, a natural lifeline meandering from south to north through the city. We follow this small river in the southern direction and catch a glimpse of one of the many skyscrapers that Eindhoven now boasts. Passing through a park-like environment, we approach the 'cultural heritage' of this Brabant metropolis.


We leave Eindhoven via Eikenburg, a former estate of Jonkheer van der Beken Pasteel (1789-1864). From 1895, it served as a boarding school, and since 2001, it has been listed as a national monument. Through the wooded and nearly pristine surroundings of the municipality of Aalst-Waalre, we reach the well-known 'Hut van Mie Pils,' situated amidst nature. We then briefly cross the A2 highway and enter the 'Pearl of Brabant,' as the area around Heeze is also called. The Groote Heide between A2 and A67 is an extensive nature reserve, with alternating heathlands, ponds, and forests, as well as unexpected undulations in the landscape.

While walking through this area, we reach the rural outskirts of Heeze and unexpectedly come across a Protestant enclave with its own cemetery. From here, we continue through an area where a significant part of the agricultural heritage has been preserved. We arrive at Sterksel and take the opportunity to freshen up there. Sterksel is mainly known for the epilepsy community Kempenhaeghe. This institution now aims to form a new living community by opening up the area for new target groups. New villagers should feel at home here just like the clients of Kempenhaeghe. Clients of Kempenhaeghe will experience life in 'an ordinary village.' 'Ordinary' but with special characteristics. We walk through this residential community. Through a beautiful nature area, we once again reach the rural outskirts of Heeze and, as it were, step right into the backyard of Heeze Castle.

Next comes the hamlet of Strabrecht, and we literally stand at the doorstep of Strabrechtse Heide. This touristy heathland has various facets but is particularly known for its diversity of ponds.

Geldrop invites us to take a stroll through the city center and soak up the ambiance of the village. The church, in particular, is impressive. Just before the Collse watermill comes into view, we walk along the Kleine Dommel and try to keep our feet dry while enjoying numerous waterfowl. Where Vincent van Gogh spent his days, we admire the Collse watermill along our path and then enter the village of Nuenen. Here, it's pleasant as well. However, you must have made the choice to opt for the alternative route through the village to follow in Vincent's footsteps. The main route leads us around the village, taking us to the Papenvoortse Heide, with its forests, heathlands, and ponds. It's a wonderful experience to spend time here. Through the Nuenens Broek, a marshy forest area, we eventually reach Nederwetten and reconnect with the Van Gogh Variant.

We now find the Dommel again but not before taking a detour along 'de Kerkhoef' and the ruins of a former church. A planned variant from the Hooidonkse watermill was never realized, but it's worth taking a short detour to get there. After 100 meters, you reach the watermill, and a bit further, you pass through a gate and arrive at the chapel of a former monastery. You then follow the route along the canal to Son and continue on the marked route towards Bokt, heading back to Eindhoven. As far as possible, you can walk along the Dommel here. In Eindhoven, you follow the route towards the Eckartdal residential community and the Soeterbeek estate. Ultimately, you walk across the campus of the university to the railway station.

GPS Track