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For both directions the on-ramp 33 Assen-Centrum/West works best. From the city centre, walk in western direction along the canal. After about 30 minutes, you'll have the northbound on-ramp on your right. For southbound, cross under the highway and turn right until you hit the roundabout. You can also take bus 114/115 from Assen station/city centre and get out at bus stop Balkendwarsweg for direction Zwolle or Balkenweg for direction Groningen.
For direction Groningen, you can also use on-ramp 34 Assen-Noord, especially when coming from the northern parts of Assen. It has a broad and long hard shoulder starting long before the highway sign and is conveniently located behind traffic lights, so the cars are going at a reasonably slow pace and can see you well. Waiting times for Groningen are rarely longer than 2-3 minutes and no sign is needed.
Around 5km west of the city centre you can find the Fochteloërveen, one of the biggest bog areas still remaining in the Netherlands. At the south side there's a lookout tower from where you have a nice view on the whole area.