12 km – short walk (can be shortened to 7.5 km or 6.5 km)
Most country estates and mansions in Wassenaar are located on either side of the Rijksstraatweg. They were built starting from the end of the 16th century along an important thoroughfare leading from The Hague to Haarlem on an elevated part of the beach ridge.
For wealthy people from both Leiden and The Hague, Wassenaar was an attractive place to retreat to the countryside, away from the stench and noise of the busy city. Prosperous townsmen bought castles and farms and converted them into country estates with exquisitely landscaped parks where they could rest and relax.
Their efforts resulted in a virtually uninterrupted, coherent area of parks laid out in the latest fashion. What is unique in Wassenaar is that relatively many 18th-century early landscape parks have been preserved, as well as a fairly large number of 19th-century landscape parks.
The walk will take you past a series of exceptionally beautiful country houses and parks, including De Paauw and Backershagen, which formed part of the nearly 600 hectares of land that belonged to Prince Frederik of the Netherlands in the 19th century. Along the route, you will see other country houses as well, some of which now contain contemporary villas in their parks.
The total route covers 12 kilometres (7.4 miles). Alternatively, you can shorten the route to 7.5 kilometres (4.6 miles) if you start the walk at De Paauw (number 2). If you start the walk at the Coffee House (number 13), you can shorten the route to 6.5 kilometres (4 miles). The shorter routes are indicated both on the map and in the field.