Drentse history of peat: Veenpark in Barger-Compascuum

In the Veenpark in Barger-Compascuum you will discover everything about the peat history of the province of Drenthe. Time seems to have stood still as you drive and sail through nostalgic villages. In addition, there is a natural high moor area where peat is still being excavated. Every day you can see the peat cutter at work and the same applies to the baker, the clog maker and the grocer. There is also much to see and experience for children. In short, a visit to this beautiful Veenpark is great fun for everyone.

Veenpark in Barger-Compascuum is the country’s largest open-air museum

When the peat colony Barger-Compascuum celebrated its centenary in 1966, an open-air exhibition was set up on the occasion. This was the basis for the open-air museum as we know it today. Because the park has an area of no less than 160 hectares, it can call itself the largest open-air museum in the Netherlands. Thanks to government support, the number of old houses could be further expanded and many authentic tools were donated to the museum.

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It started with buckwheat farmers

Something that few people know is that the first inhabitants of this area were buckwheat farmers and not peat cutters. Only after 1850, when the “attack on the Emmense Venen” began, these buckwheat farmers started working in the peat. You can taste the atmosphere of this in the turf hut village of Aole Compas. This is because the initial period of the dyeing is shown here. In the peat colonial village of Bargermond, the period between the years 1900 and 1966 is simulated. This village originated at a crossroads of roads with water and, in addition to a church, also has a school, a brown café, a mill, a blacksmith shop and a bakery.

Peat excavation by peat cutters

The “peat pit” of the Veenpark in Barger-Compascuum is the last place in our country where peat is still being cut. This peat excavation was still in full swing until the 1960s. In addition to the steam engine, you will meet a real peat cutter here who will show you how this heavy work was done by hand at the time. Only the tools, the trailer, the sticker and the “krooie” were used.

Permanent exhibition in collaboration with Geopark

You can enjoy hiking, but a visit to the Veenpark in Barger-Compascuum is also highly recommended on rainy days. For example, you can visit the permanent exhibition phenomenal Hondsrug in the various buildings. Here the story of the peat land that is located along the Drentse Hondsrug is told. The park works together with Geopark on a 400 m2 exhibition space. In addition, the exhibition includes part of the oldest peat road in the Netherlands. The Neolithische Veenweg is approximately 4500 years old and was discovered a short distance from the park during peat cutting in the last century.


A special museum

The park is also home to a special museum, the Harmonium Museum. Here you will find more than 250 harmoniums and this museum is freely accessible to every visitor. Jan Vos’ collection has been on display in the park since 2001 in one of the most striking buildings. In addition to an exhibition space, it also has a small amphitheater where performances are staged. It is therefore an integral part of the park.

For more information and opening times

Have you also become enthusiastic about the Veenpark in Barger-Compascuum? Then visit the park’s website for more information: www.veenpark.nl. The park is open daily from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

You will also find a detailed description of all children’s activities on the website. There is a large playground called “Speulland” and the story of Lieske and Geert is written in large books along the roads of the park. Would you like to take a boat trip or a train ride together? It is all possible in this unique park in the Netherlands.