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Five-day pilgrimage along the outstanding Twente Hilligenpad.

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Would you like to leave your busy life behind for five days? Would you like to tackle existing patterns to make space for new insights? This is possible with the Hilligenpad, Twente dialect for the way of the saints. It leads you across ancient ley lines along fifty inspiring and spiritual places in Twente.

Inspiration starts with seeing and marveling. Ever seen grain that does not move with the wind? Because it’s impossible. Nature as a mirror and coach. All you have to do is be open to it. This is also true for the religious and pagan places you will visit. A reflection of your own life will follow effortlessly. The route starts at Hof Espelo by Enschede and is signposted with small shields. Worthy of a mention are the considerable height differences, breathtaking vistas and mystical forests. Fatigued and - hopefully - enlightened, you will reach retreat De Zwanenhof in Zenderen after five days and 100 kilometres.

Day 1 Hof Espelo – Oldenzaal | 20 km

It’s not long before you encounter the first Hilligen Huesken, or shrine. This is where our forebears searched and found connection with higher spheres. Initially through savage, pagan scenes. Later these became more civilised, Christian rituals. The spot remained the same. There was magic in the soil. Later still, this soil was consecrated to Saint James, San Tiago in Spanish. His grave is the final destination of the famous Camino de Santiago. The day ends in Oldenzaal at the Plechelmus basilica. Or more accurate: at a terrace in its shadow.

Day 2 Tankenberg – Volthe | 18 km

The route leads you via the Tankenberg and Domineesberg to the gallows on the Loabult and the Belvedère. The word ‘berg’ means mountain, and explains it all. There is some climbing involved. But there is also time for reflection. When faced with the stunning vistas. When lighting a candle in a Chapel of Mary. The route continues along the Lutterkerkpad and the Kerkenbos with its secret procession paths. Final destination is Volthe, a tiny little community near the medieval Everloo manor house. Almost a shame to waste time sleeping. The nights are still really dark here.

Day 3 Tilligte – Kapsweg | 24 km

The main theme of today is the finality of life. You will walk along the Höllweg (hell’s road). A special road that was used by our ancestors to transport the deceased to the cemetery. Just like old sacrificial sites, they constructed these death roads on ley lines: meridians that link spiritual centres of strength. Along prehistoric burial mounds in the beautiful Springendal. You will reach the Kapsweg via terraces in the unsurprisingly touristic Ootmarsum. Named after a farmer’s hand who is buried peacefully below a tree here.

Day 4 Tubbergen – Weerselo | 17 km

The Kroezeboom might be the oldest oak tree in the Netherlands. It has been in this special place for more than 500 years, a spot where no less than 37 ley lines or meridians converge. Are you feeling anything yet? If the answer is ‘yes’, it is interesting to know that weddings can be hosted under the protective branches of the century-old oak. However, be sure to check that it really feels right for both of you. Just imagine the ley lines send you a different message.

Day 5 Saasveld – Zenderen | 21 km

The last day starts on the church path between ‘Oold Daggel’ farm and the church in Saasveld. The farmer only wanted one thing. The shortest route to church. So him and his entire family created their own path over the years. Straight through pastures and fields. Zenderen Retreat finally comes into view via the Molenven, the oldest protected natural area in Twente. Where better to end this pilgrimage? The Zwanenhof is a special place where you can switch life ‘off’ for a little while.

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