Our emphasis in the redesign and management plan for the Balloërveld is on optimal enjoyment of the historical and ecological qualities and the large open space.


Gemeente Aa en Hunze


Staatsbosbeheer regio Noord


Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG) (Jeroen Zomer, Theo Spek)

Surface Area

900 ha (heideveld ca. 367 ha)

Design Year




The largest remaining heath in the Drentsche Aa area is the Balloërveld. The gradient from the heath to the lower-lying ground through which the brooks wind and the accumulation of archaeological, historico-geographical, historico-ecological and geological values make the Ballooërveld an area of exceptional natural beauty.

The lower-lying ground had already for some time been the property of the Forestry Commission; the field itself was used as a terrain for military exercises for a long time before it was recently transferred to the Forestry Commission by the Ministry of Defence. That was the moment to join with all interested parties and experts to draw up a redesign and management plan for the Balloërveld. The emphasis in this plan is on optimal enjoyment of the historical and ecological qualities and the large open space.

The Balloërveld is like an old skin full of scars in the form of wagon tracks, Celtic fields, barrow mounds, an anti-tank ditch, a trench, osiered windbreaks, wooded banks, water discharges and reclamations. The removal of vertical vegetation makes it easier to see the spatial coherence between all those elements and enables visitors to be overwhelmed by the large number of burial mounds that are often invisible at the moment. At some points there are small reclamations on the large peaceful heath that are bordered by a wooded bank and have thus come to lie on the open heath like striking islands (treasure chambers). Solitary trees and small clusters of trees have been allowed to remain. Thanks to the large degree of variation in the micro-relief of the field, the stroller’s perspective changes at every turn.

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