De Pampel covers an area of 644 hectares and forms the heart of the park. It was purchased by Anton Kröller on 2 May 1913, when the area consisted of houses, barns, a sheepfold, a nursery, forests, heaths, arable land and meadows, sandy soils, coppice woodlands, and farmsteads.
These days, De Pampel lies at the centre of the park and includes the Marchantplein square, Museonder, Parkrestaurant De Hoge Veluwe, the Visitor's Centre, the Kröller-Müller Museum and its sculpture garden, the President Steyn stone bench, the Franse Berg hill, and the grave of Anton and Helene Kröller-Müller. The farm, which is now a gamekeeper's house, was named after the area.
De Pampel was first written about in the sixteenth century. On 26 April 1564, Arnhem-native Joost van Craenefelt submitted a request to cultivate part of the area. It was ideally located just north of a range of dunes, which offered excellent protection from the drifting sand. This circular range of dunes was created along the north-western edge of the Pampelse Zand. It would appear that Joost van Craenefelt was only partially successful in his plans; a mere 5.6 hectares had been cultivated by the start of the seventeenth century.
In the valuation of the assets of the subsequent owner, Anne Elizabeth van Deelen (1657-1725), it was noted that the area was under constant threat of encroaching sand drifts.
However, the dunes did indeed offer sufficient protection. In the mid-nineteenth century, when large areas of the current park consisted of sand drifts, De Pampel was an oasis of green in this desert landscape. The clergyman Otto Heldring – who commissioned among other things a well, a school, and a church in Hoenderloo – wrote about his leisurely walks through the area in his 'Wandelingen over de Veluwe' (Walking in the Veluwe). In it, he writes: 'My eye fell upon the hilly mound and I admired the view. The green crown of De Pampel came into view at an hour's distance and I admired the scene – rugged sands surrounding what could have been an endless herd of sheep.'