I might look like a tiny girly girl but I’m really nothing like it. I’m more of a tomboy that likes girly stuff now and then. (I wear high heels on some rare occasions). One of those tomboy things is, that I love motor racing. I’m talking bikes. Cars don’t really do it for me. It’s probably because during my time in London (where I lived a bunch of years) I dated a guy that was racing in the Superbikes championship. 6 months of the year I was walking around the racetrack supporting the team and over the years I learned a lot about bikes, racing and the championships. Moto GP is basically the Formule 1 of Motor racing. It’s a worldwide competition with racing locations in Australia, USA, Spain, Japan, France, Italy and also the Netherlands. Every June the Moto GP comes to Assen in the north east of Holland. The Dutch racetrack was build in 1955 so it’s pretty old and has been part of the racing agenda for years. So why will this interest you, I hear you think. The TT in Assen is a spectacle everyone should at experience at least once if their life and this is why;
Assen TT Festival
It has become somewhat of a tradition that the town Assen celebrates the TT with music, beer, performances, competitions and motorcycle tours. This starts on Wednesday before the raceweekend and continues until Sunday evening. Everywhere in Assen is a party, it almost feels like carnival. You will find all sorts of people here. Yes, mainly bikers but famous DJ’s and singers are also attracting people from other area’s and even abroad. You will find rock, blues, dance and even German Slager music at the TT. Entrance is free and so is the hangover the next day. On Thursday it suppose to be the best day for locals. They call it the “Assernacht” but since the festival is now a 4-day celebration, all days are busy and fun. Be prepared for beer, beer and more beer. 200.000 people visit the TT every year so if you decide to visit the festival, park your car outside the city center and walk because it will be too busy.
Where to Sleep
If you go to the TT and you really want to experience the biker life, you can stay on one of the TT Campings. It’s like a festival with lot’s of mud, BBQ’s, motorcycles and beer. There are several campings all over Assen and surrounded towns. Some people open their backyard and create a small camping for visitors. If you prefer a little more comfort, good food and some luxury, you should stay at the Hof van Saksen. This is a spacious, green lakeside resort with modern bungalows or farmhouses perfect for a group of friends or families with kids. Each accommodation has a large bathroom, kitchen, living space and one or more bedrooms. I stayed in a house for 4 persons with 2 bedrooms a garden and a sauna! The bathroom had Rituals shampoo and body lotions and I had my breakfast delivered to my door in the morning. The main building also features a large swimming pool with waterslides and if you really want to pamper yourself you can book a day at the spa or treat yourself to one of the many treatments on offer. (something you will need after a night at the Assen TT night!) In the Hof van Saksen there are 5 different restaurants (yes 5!) like the Grand Cafe, Italian Gusto, a self service restaurant and Brasserie Coccinella overlooking the lake. A 4 persons farmhouse including a sauna and bubble bath is available from 589 euro’s for a 3 nights stay during the weekend. You can book your stay here.
Assen TT Camping (photo by Vice)
Around the area
Assen is situated in Drenthe, a beautiful Dutch province with forests, lakes and history. At the Hof van Saksen you can rent bicycles and cycle around the area for hours where you will meet cows, horses, large farmhouses and beautiful forests. One of cool things you can visit are the Hunebeds. These are the oldest monuments in Holland and date back at least 5000 years ago. They are believed to be graves build by farmers with large rocks that traveled along with ice gletsjers from Scandinavia. How they managed to build graves with these massive rocks is anyone’s guess but if they could build pyramids back in the day, they could certainly build a Hunebed.
But let’s face it, the Assen TT is all about the races that are being held on the circuit that weekend. Tickets are available from 44 euro’s for a free spot around the track and go up to over a 100 euro’s for the best seats. I love reporting from this spectaculair event because you never know what’s going to happen. The all time favorite crashed and it suddenly started pouring down with rain which ended up with surprising end results.
“The Assen TT is an event in The Netherlands, everyone should visit at least once.”
The moto GP continues it’s next race in Germany with 9 more destinations to follow. But no experience will be like the Assen TT. Will you go next year?
For info about the Assen TT Festival check the official website. If you want to visit other Moto GP races, go here.
*Photography by Jesse Denijs