2-day Glacial Netherlands excursion




We have been able to organize an excitingly diverse programme of different activities and excursions before, during, and after the ICP12 conference in Utrecht. For some of these a minimum amount of participants is required, whereas for several, a limited participation is possible. It is therefore strongly advised to book you participation as soon as possible (first come first go !). Some of these activities/excursions are unique and only organized in relation to this conference.


Guide: Paul van Olm (Georeizen – geotravels, Netherlands Geological Society, Flevo-landscape)


AE – Utrecht, B – Urk-Schokland, C – Giethoorn, Zwartsluis, D – Borger

During the Pleistocene, the Scandinavian ice sheet partly covered the northern part of Europe and reached The Netherlands two times. Its largest extension was during the Saale glaciation (~140.000 years ago) when the ice reached as far as the, so-called Haarlem-Nijmegen line. Much of the Dutch landscape was formed in that period: ice pushed ridged like the hills of Utrecht, glacial tongues that shaped the IJssel valley and the huge till plateau of Drenthe. During that period, the ice has left vast amounts of stones. During the successive Weichsel glaciation, the ice didn’t reach The Netherlands, but the climate became very cold and dry again, causing the development of widespread tundra. Erosion on the often barren surface was easy and eolian deposits were formed. Then during the Holocene when the climate warmed and sea-level rose, peat started to grow on the sandy surfaces. As the sea invaded the land, lagoons were formed. Since then, man has always struggled with the invading sea. During this two days excursion you will get a clear picture of the glacial history of the Netherlands and how people adjusted to the changing landscape.


Programme: Total length of the journey 400 km.



First day:  Saturday August 27th or Saturday September 3th, 2016


Route: Utrecht – Urk – Schokland – Kraggenburg – Giethoorn (overnight stay).

Departure: City of Utrecht at 8.00 hrs.


  1. Passing the ice pushed ridges of Utrecht. Optional visit to Museum Hofland.Excursion Glacial Netherlands - Urk
  2. Visit the old fishing villages of Urk and Schokland. This area of some 1600 square km became dry in 1940 and near Urk an area of morene and till deposits became accessible after the sea was dried. Part of it is kept as a geological reservation. The island of Schokland was abandoned in 1859, because of the rising sea level of the South Sea, in the 20th century the South Sea was dammed (IJsselmeer) and the area partly reclaimed: the former small island of Schokland became a strange uplift in a vast flat polder (the former bottom of the shallow South Sea). We’ll visit the former harbour and visit some geological and archeological points of interest. When time permits we’ll visit the olivine weathering project of prof. Schuiling in Kraggenburg. Here he laid out one of the first experimental fields where the weathering of olivine in order to reduce the CO2 content of the atmosphere was studied.
  3. We’ll end the day in the Holocene peaty-area of the Netherlands in the village of Giethoorn, county of Overijssel. During dinner we’ll make a boat trip through the many small canals. Overnight stay in Zwartsluis near Giethoorn.

Excursion Glacial Netherlands - Drenthe


Second day: Sunday August 28th or Sunday September 4th, 2016


Route: Giethoorn – Borger – Utrecht.

Departure: Giethoorn at 9.00 hrs.

Arrival: Utrecht around 16:30 hrs.



  1. The Hondsrug Geopark in Borger. Around 10.00 we start our visit to the Hunebed information centre. Drenthe is famous for its prehistoric monuments that were made from ice age boulders, called Hunebeds. Here we will visit the largest Hunebed of the Netherlands. Next to the monument is the information centre that exposes relicts of the people who build the Hunebeds. A guided tour will be given by Harrie Wolters (adjunct director Hunebed information centre). This tour will be combined with a nice walk through the Oertijdpark, a prehistorical journey through the past 150.000 years of the Hondsrug area.
  2. After a typical Drenthe´s farmers lunch (12:00-13:00) in the Hunebed information centre, we will make a tour with the bus through the Geopark. The reason that the Hondsrug area is part of the international Geopark network is the Saalien Ice Age landscape. On the tour we will see some different examples of this landscape like pingo ruines, dry valleys, the ridges of the Hondsrug area and many boulders. We will also see how humans used the Ice Age landscapes to make for instance the Hunebeds, prehistoric routes, prehistoric burial sites, settlements and so on. During the bus tour we will make some walks in the Hondsrug landscape.


Prize: 210 Euro

Dates: 27-28 August or 3-4 September 2016

This includes:

  • Bus transportation
  • Guidance.
  • All entrance fees
  • Coffee & teas
  • 2 x lunch (Urk /Schokland and Borger)
  • Boattrip through the canals and over the lakes of Giethoorn with dinner on board.
  • Overnight stay in hotel Zwarte Water, Zwartsluis (near Giethoorn).


Minimum Participants: 8

Maximum Participants: 30