PIJNENBURG - AUSTERLITZ (16,8 KM)
The tenth stage of the Trekvogelpad 10 starts just outside Soest on the Pijnenburg estate. From this estate, you walk past villas on the edge of the forest into the forest. The path starts out wide and becomes narrower as you walk deeper into the forest until you are walking on narrow forest paths. Slowly, the landscape around you changes. It is slightly hilly and once you cross the railroads, you see the sand drifts of the dunes of Soest emerge. These dunes in the middle of the country were created in the last ice age and lie like a lateral moraine in the landscape.
After crossing the railroads again, you walk further through the forest into the park at Soesterberg Airbase. This park belongs to the former military airfield that has become a military museum and park since its closure. More than a hundred years ago, the first Dutch planes took off from this airfield. Nowadays, however, the area only has a recreational function. Besides a visit to the museum, you can make many walks and cycle tours in the area. This part of the trekvogelpad crosses the park and the airbase, after which you walk straight through the village of Soesterberg.
The Pyramid of Austerlitz
When you walk out of the village of Soesterberg, you find yourself at the beginning of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. This is a lateral moraine that was formed in the last ice age and now forms a national park in the middle of the Netherlands. This part of the ridge consists of a large forest with wide paths. The size of the park makes it quiet, even though you are never completely alone.
Hidden in the woods, your final destination suddenly emerges. High above the trees, you see the obelisk that forms the top of the Pyramid of Austerlitz. Many Dutch people are not aware of the existence of this pyramid. But this monument is a reminder of an interesting time in the country’s history. It was built by order of the French general Auguste de Marmont who served in Napoleon’s army. It was inspired by the Pyramid of Giza, which De Marmont had seen himself in 1798 during Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign. The pyramid is now a national monument that you can easily visit without taking a long walk.
Do you want to hike this trail yourself? Check out the full hike below or at Komoot. Would you like to take another hike in the Netherlands? Take a look at the overview page.