It’s spring in the Netherlands. Time to brush off your winter boots, get out your hiking boots, stretch your legs and find some nature. But where is there to go?
Never fear, nature lovers. Even though most of the parks and wildlife areas in the Netherlands are man-made and perfectly manicured, this doesn’t mean that they don’t offer the same benefits as “authentic” nature. Here are a few places to go that are almost as good as the real thing.
Hoge Veluwe National Park
Years of deforestation caused this once green area to become a virtual wasteland by the end of the nineteenth century. After a process of natural forest regrowth and human landscaping efforts, however, Hoge Veluwe was molded into a sanctuary in the middle of the country for humans and wildlife alike. Biking and hiking are the two most popular activities within the park.
From March to May in the Netherlands you can visit the Keukenhof Gardens to see Dutch tulip bulb growers showcasing their crops for the year. The layered gardens create a dizzying maze that is a symbol of Holland throughout the world. Although Keukenhof can be quite busy during the high tourist season, if you go early in the day the most noise you’ll hear is the wind blowing through the flowers.
The Wadden Islands of Schiermonnikoog, Texel, Vlieland, Terschelling, and Ameland feel like a different country altogether from the Netherlands. They are a bit more wild, with rolling hills of long grasses, miles and miles of shoreline, and birds of all different species. But their overall character cannot be generalized by one description. Each island is worth a separate visit to experience the local culture of its inhabitants.
Don’t be put off by the high-rise apartments and loud beach music blasting from the resorts at Scheviningen. Once you make it past the naked volleyball players on the nude beach you’ll find peaceful shoreline with rolling dunes, soft sand, and gentle sea breezes where you can stroll all day.
Various National Parks
One unique thing about Holland is that, since it’s so small, the cities and the nature tend to brush up against each other. There are many parks within close proximity to the larger cities in the Netherlands such as De Utrechtse Heuvelrug, National Park de Biesbosch, and De Groote Peel National Park.
For more information on natural spaces in the Netherlands, visit https://www.holland.com/global/tourism/discover-holland/nature.htm