Dutch Topographic map of Hof van Twente, July 2013
Hof van Twente (pronunciation (help·info)) is a municipality in the eastern Netherlands, province Overijssel. The municipality came into being on January 1, 2001 as the result of the merger of the municipalities of Diepenheim, Goor, Markelo, Ambt Delden, and Stad Delden.
Goor (Dutch for: low, swampy land) achieved city rights in 1263. An important city, however, it never became. The "Drost" ( a kind of mayor) of the Twente region, who ruled this area in behalf of the bishop of Utrecht, had in the late Middle Ages his residence in Goor. In its surroundings some castles were built, among them the house of the important Heeckeren family in 1412. Goor had a small harbour along the river Regge ( which flows to the Vecht near Ommen), but when the Twente canal was opened in 1936, a new industrial port was built there. The factory Eternit, that produces building materials containing asbestos, brought Goor unwillingly into trouble. For decades, everyone in Goor was permitted to use production refuse containing asbestos in order to pave their own paths and roads. Not earlier than about 1990, it was known in Goor that especially small particles of this material can cause cancer. In major parts of the city the soil has to be removed and either cleaned or replaced by non-polluted material.
Delden achieved its city rights in 1333. Its circle-shaped centre was surrounded by earthen walls. It came into existence thanks to the Twickel castle, situated less than one mile north of delden. This castle, that in its present form dates from the 17th century, is still inhabited by a German noble family ( Zu Castell - Rüdenhausen). In 1886, near this castle salt was discovered under the ground. This led to the exploration of this material, still going on in the nearby city of Hengelo.
In Markelo, prehistoric mounds "tumuli", containing graves have been excavated.
Hof van Twente is situated in the heart of the province Overijssel: south-west of Almelo, north-east of the Achterhoek region (Prov. Gelderland) and south-east of Rijssen-Holten. The small cities of Goor and Delden have some industry (asbestos-cement, metallics, plastics). Goor has a small harbour along the Twente Canal (Zutphen - Enschede). The motorway A35 has a junction between Delden and Hengelo (distance to both towns 2 km). Agriculture and tourism (see below) are of economic importance as well.
All through the Hof van Twente ("Garden of Twente") it is possible to wander around on foot or bicycle. The municipality has many small woods, old water mills, beautiful country houses and small castles with their parks and small lanes winding themselves through the countryside. Therefore, many tourists visit this rural area. They stay in small hotels, holiday resorts, on camping sites and even at farms.
The Twickel castle near Delden can only be observed from the outside, but the major part of its parks and woods ( 60 square km) are freely accessible.
Castle Warmelo near Diepenheim, that was built in 1315, and was afterwards devastated and rebuilt several times, is in private use as well. Princess Armgard, the mother of Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, who was Queen Juliana's husband, lived there until her death in 1971. Its famous gardens are open to the public every summer.
Castle Weldam, between Markelo and Goor, is inhabited by the German noble family of Zu Solms-Sonnenwalde. The beautiful gardens of this castle can be visited. Castle's forest is free accessible as well.
In Delden you can visit the Gothic Saint Blasius Church (built in the 15th century).
Delden has the Dutch Salt Museum (Zoutmuseum), about salt, its history, use and mining.