A guide to 11 beautiful national parks in the Netherlands

Craving some nature? 🌳

Are you an avid walker looking for somewhere in the Netherlands to enjoy the great outdoors? Here’s a list of 11 great national parks that can help you get closer to nature. 🌳

The Netherlands may not have any mountains (or any hills for that matter), but the landscape is still beautiful and peaceful.

To start, here are 11 national parks in the Netherlands to add to your visit list.

1. De Biesbosch

Even the swans love it. Image: Unsplash

De Biesbosch is a popular national park and one of the largest in the country. The main attraction is the number of activities on offer—there is no shortage of things to do.

You can go bird-spotting, walking, fishing, spend the night in a fishing hut in the park, rent canoes, cycle, and go on special walking tours with foresters. You can even dine in the national park!

De Biesbosch has a wild yet beautiful landscape, making it the perfect escape from the city. They hold informative school programs and are heavily involved with educating the public and preserving the landscape and its inhabitants. 🦢

📍 Havenkade 25, 4924 BC Drimmelen (takes you to the nearby shops/rentals)

2. De Maasduinen National Park

De Maasduinen is a beautiful national park located in the province of Limburg. The park was created by, well, people, but also wind and water. It actually forms the longest river dune belt in the whole of the Netherlands. 🌊

READ MORE | Why the Netherlands isn’t under water (VIDEO INSIDE)

There are also many different rare species of plants and animals in De Maasduinen, including snakes, sand lizards, cranes, buzzards, bats, beavers and butterflies. 🦋

De Maasduinen National Park is the perfect place to go for a walk, horse riding, a leisurely bike ride, or go on a mountain bike trail. Field trips are also held there, and it’s perfect for a fun little school trip. Overall, it’s a charming place to go for the day.

3. Texel National Park

If you are looking for something a little further afield but with most of the familiarities of your Dutch home, then look no further than Texel.

Texel is an island located just five kilometres north of Den Helder, across the Wadden Sea. 🌊

You haven’t visited Texel yet? What are you “dune”?! Image: IngevGelder/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

Over a quarter of the island is made up of the Dunes of Texel National Park, complete with cycle paths (of course) and the sea.

It’s basically everything you could want from a weekend walk or cycle. Or on horseback, if that’s your preferred method of travel!

Texel National Park’s landscape is made up of dunes, valleys, woodland and marshes. All are complete with a variety of animals, rare species of plants and protected birds. 🐤

4. National Park Lauwersmeer

Bird-watch or stargaze it’s up to you. Image: Uberprutser/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

Lauwersmeer National Park is found in the providence of Groningen and Friesland. It is a product of flooding prevention when a dam was built there in 1969, so it’s now a freshwater lake.

READ MORE | The 18 most magnificent lakes in the Netherlands (near Amsterdam and beyond)

Over 100 bird species breed there, along with thousands of geese. You can also find spoonbills, stilt-claws, sea eagles and grey fringes. It’s literally the perfect place to be at one with nature or to observe the birds. 🦅

If bird-watching isn’t really your thing, how about swapping starlings for stars? ⭐️

The National Park has been named “Dark Sky Park” for years because there is a special area preserved for visitors to see the sky without any light pollution. Echt cool!

5. National Park Oosterschelde

A shifting landscape. Image: MartinD/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

Oosterschelde National Park lies in the province of Zeeland and is the LARGEST national park in the whole country.

Most of the park is water, and because of the tide, it changes the landscape often, making it an interesting place to keep visiting. 🌾

There is an array of different plants and animals living here mainly because the salt marshes have created different ecosystems.

It is also home to the Oosterschelde storm surge barrier, which protects the Netherlands from severe flooding. There is a museum there where you can learn about the 1953 flood, which is the reason that the storm surge barrier is here today. 🌊

6. De Zoom-Kalmthoutse Heide

The Zoom-Kalmhoutse Heide is on the border of the Netherlands and Flanders. When they became separate countries, it was divided.

What makes this place unique is that it is entirely man-made — even the bogs.

The landscape is varied with forests, dunes, heather, parks, polders and pastures. There is also a heavily wooded area originally planted to provide fuel for factories back in the 19th century.

Nature protection was not always a priority in this area, especially as it was across borders.

Now, there is a wide variety of endangered or vulnerable plant and animal species that are protected there. 🩹

Both nature and the landscape are preserved, making it a beautiful place to be for tourists and animals alike. 🦌

7. Schiermonnikoog

You can find over 300 different bird species in Schiermonnikoog. Image: Uberprutser/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

This National Park can be found on Schiermonnikoog island, one of the six Wadden Islands. This small area is packed with so many different landscapes and plenty of nature. The national park has dunes, forests, mudflats, polders and more. 🪵

Due to the huge variety of landscapes on one island, over 300 bird species visit Schiermonnikoog every year. A large variety of rare plants also grow in Schiermonnikoog.

Only local residents are allowed to have vehicles on the island, but the area has a variety of cycling paths and walking routes, so it’s easily accessible. Or if you’re not feeling too active, then taking the bus is also an option.

📍 Ferry port – Zeedijk 9, 9976 VM Lauwersoog

8. Zuid-Kennemerland National Park

These lumpy bogs might be the closest the Netherlands gets to hills… Image: Jiri Komarek/Wikimedia Commons/CC4.0

This National Park is close to Amsterdam, making it the perfect escape from the busy and sometimes stressful city life. The national park is mainly made up of beaches and sand dunes.

There is plenty to do in Zuid-Kennemerduinen, such as hiking, biking, swimming, horse riding, bison spotting, and walking along the dunes.

The park’s website provides a lot of information about the park and its activities for both adults and children.

READ MORE | Hiking in Amsterdam: top 7 places for wandelen near the city

There are also beautiful country estates at Zuid-Kennemerduinen (some with formal gardens), along with a beautiful wild dune landscape and plenty of different plant and animal species. Lots to see and do!

9. Hoge Veluwe National Park

Now that’s a view! Image: Depositphotos

Hoge Veluwe National Park is located in Gelderland and something for everyone. It’s known for its beautiful landscape, nature and also houses the Kröller-Müller museum.

The museum gets its name from a couple who once owned the area. There’s a lot of history to this national park, where the museum and the park closely work together, just as the couple did. 🤝

10. De Groote Peel National Park

De Groote Peel National Park is a beautiful vast area, perfect for walkers and bird watchers. It has a wide range of landscapes including marshes, ponds, forests and open countryside. 🌿

This national park is the perfect place if you’re after peace and tranquillity; it’s quiet and is out of sight and the sound of any main roads or houses.

In fact, you can’t see any form of structure for miles. It’s a blissful no man’s land!

There are around 25 species of mammals that roam the grounds (such as wild boar, deer, polecat etc), and if you’re a bird lover, you’re in luck too. The crane, cormorant and reed goose can be spotted around De Groote Peel National Park, along with a range of other domestic birds.

11. Sallandse Heuvelrug

This gorgeous national park is located in the eastern Dutch province of Overijssel and takes about two hours to get there from Amsterdam by car. Perfect for a mini road trip! 🚙

Doesn’t this look perfect for a hike? Image: Depositphotos

The park’s landscape dates all the way back to the ice age! ❄️

More than 150,000 years ago, heavy ice caps pushed thousands of rocks in their path and compressed them to form today’s smooth surface.

The national park’s website shows all the activities on offer here: hiking, scenic cycling, mountain biking, and horse riding!

The park also organises tours and excursions with different outdoor activities such as water safaris (or just kayaking), and petting farms for your kids (or for you, no judgment here 😉).

There’s also has so many things to see! Ranging from flora and fauna-rich forests and marshes to the permanent flock of Twilhaar’s sheep and the rare black grouse bird which roams the heathland.

Sounds like a fantasy film, doesn’t it? 😆

So there we have it—11 wonderful national parks in the Netherlands that you must visit! So put on your hiking boots and rally your friends—it’s time to return to nature!

What are your favourite national parks in the Netherlands? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Emma Brown
Emma Brown
A familiar face at DutchRevew. Emma arrived in Holland in 2016 for a few weeks, fell in love with the place and never left. Here she rekindled her love of writing and travelling. Now you'll find her eating stroopwafels in the DutchReview office since 2017.

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  1. Meijendel is a national park between The Hague and Wassenaar (water supply area).
    Great nature park with several parkings, playground for children, self service restaurant, horse riding, bicycle and walking routes, dunes, ponds, pine forest, many different birds and a nice wide beach. There are different birds, wild horses, buffalos, fox. Perfect place for families with children during the weekend.
    From the beach at the south side is well visible the Pier of Scheveningen (the beach area of The Hague) and at the north side – Katwijk, Nordwijk and sometimes also Zandvoort (33 km). My youtube videos:


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