7 natural campsites in the Netherlands to enjoy this spring and summer

Concrete roads, car parks, traffic jams, train rides, another day in the office, just like yesterday. Yet, the next vacation seems to be light-years away just as physically instant travel seems to be unreasonable.

However, if you can’t get jet off this summer, there’s loads of choice when it comes to natural beauty in the Netherlands. Here are our top seven natural campsites in the Netherlands.

Natural campsites in the Netherlands

Having grown up in Brazil, I was surrounded by nature in all forms: beaches, Atlantic forest, animals, and insects (all kinds). When I moved to the Netherlands I felt I would need to adapt and adjust not only to a new culture but also to the landscapes.

But I’ve never been camping before … what should I do?

To be quite frank, you don’t need to invest in a whole collection of gear or learn esoteric survival skills to do so. Besides, it is a budget getaway trip outdoors and that’s quite relevant in the Netherlands taking into consideration the high rents and general cost of living. No matter what, keep it simple.

For us, spring is the best time to go camping. The campsites are not as crowded as in the summer, and if you are lucky you might even enjoy a long day of sunshine in a territory where sunshine is never guaranteed.

Where are the natural campsites in the Netherlands?

There are 146 accredited natural campsites in the Netherlands with other options a bit further in neighbouring Belgium and France. The Groene Koepel Organisation determines if campsites are considered a “Natuurkampeerterreinen“.

All nature campsites are available once you invest in a Green guide Het Groene Boeke (the Green Book). This guide offers a variety of spots available in all Dutch provinces which require a pass to gain access. The pass comes with the book and makes you an accredited nature camper.

These are places where you won’t end up in a campsite full of caravans with television aerials or amongst a teenage party weekend getaway. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with arranged entertainments, shops, crowds, and bars on the outside. These are sites where you get to meet fellow campers looking for peaceful, quality time away from the hustle and bustle of normal life.

Different types of natural campsites in the Netherlands

Some of the accredited natural campsites are on the Staatsbosbeheer which means you are able to stay in the forest itself. These are labelled as puur natuur campsites and truly are peaceful places to lay your head.

There’s no reception at the locations, so we recommend reserving online or perhaps just drop by the site itself and try to reach the forest keeper or booswachter. They’ll guide you to the empty section where you can put up your tent and experience Dutch nature on another level. The campsites are also family-friendly and have areas for group camping.

By the way, if you want to fully explore nature but are looking for campings with better facilities, the Green Book also offers options which are labelled as “Natuur plus” or “Natuur comfort“. In all cases, you’re guaranteed to get the true nature experience.

There are many great options in the Green Book. The recommendations below are a few of our favourites:

1. Het Verse Gat, Zeeland

This is by far our favourite spot for camping in the Netherlands. It’s located along the waters of the Veerse Bos in Zeeland. To access it, you follow a short, narrow, sand road where you’re able to park your car and walk to the entrance. Usually, you can’t park your car next to a tent in these natural campsites.

What makes this location especially nice is great walking spots! It’s close to a large forest and the seaside which is easily accessible by bike. The old cities of Veere and Middelburg are also close by for those interested in cycling around these old towns.

Veerse Bos afternoon. Image: DutchReview.
Zeeland sea. Image: DutchReview.
Afternoon Seagull crowd. Image: DutchReview.
View while cycling around Veere. Image: DutchReview.

2. Klein Frankrijk, Noord Brabant

This spot is ideal for a weekend away or a longer stay. The friendly keepers maintain it to a very high standard. It’s a great spot for swimming or walking in the forest — it being only five minutes away.

Giant mushrooms on the Bos. Image: DutchReview.
Silence and hammock at Klein Frankrijk Noord Brabant. Image: DutchReview.

3. Distelheide, Gelderland

This campsite is on the way to the German border and it fitted in with the idea we had of seeing different provinces in the Netherlands. A perfect place to enjoy the night by the fire. This particular region is known for its diversity of landscape fields and open nature. You may even spot wild animals at night (not kidding!) but also enjoy silence.

Between high trees – Doetinchem Netherlands. Image: DutchReview.

4. De Cokse Heide, Noord Limburg, Gelderland

This campsite is located in the middle of the Maasduinen National Park. It’s a forest located on a sand ridge between Maas and the German border. The camping itself offers a variety of spots whether it’s on the hills or in a cozy corner by the trees and bushes. Also, quite nice for long bike rides or a walk along the Maasduinen which has somehow a taste of tropical environment.

Maasduinen National Park. Image: DutchReview

5. Dasselaar – Flevoland

This campsite is also part of the Staatsbosbeheer and is located in Flevoland, the youngest province in the Netherlands. This spot is great for hikers, cyclists, and mountain bikers. The campsite is cosy and offers spots in the shade of apple and nut trees. Within a short distance, you can easily reach the Horsterworld forest which has a great variety of trees and plants. If you enjoy walking, this place is known for its great walking routes around the forest.

A-sign-in-Staatsbosbeheer-nature-park
At least many of the signs are in English, so you don’t get AS lost. Image: Bauhuis/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

6. West Terschelling, Friesland

Located on the island of Terschelling, this is a small campsite with great open fields and a short distance from the Harbour. This particular region is great for cycling, it having almost 70km of bicycle paths and the beaches are known for their vast space. Be aware that Terschelling is quite a popular holiday destination. This makes the Green Book even more useful if you plan to escape from the crowd or party campings on the Island.

The-harbour-at-West-Terschelling-in-the-Netherlands
Even on a cloudy day, you can get the most out of nature. Image: Rob Koster/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

7. Landgoed Mariahoeve, Drenthe

This campsite is located in the heart of De Hondsrug UNESCO Global Geopark and it offers attractive private spaces for a quiet time away from all. For those not familiar with camping or not equipped yet (not that you need much), this campsite offers the possibility to locate a Pipowag or sleep on a fully furnished safari tent. The Hondsrug, together with the surrounding area, forms the only geopark in the Netherlands.

Mariahoeve-Leende-estate-in-the-Netherlands
And a great place to stop off when you need a break from all that nature. Image: Brian Byrne/Paul Laimböck/Wikimedia Commons/CC4.0

There we are, our top seven natural campsites in the Netherlands. If you haven’t had your fill of nature, check out the top ten Dutch national parks.

Have you ever been to a natural campsite in the Netherlands? Let us know in the comments!

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in April 2019, and was fully updated in June 2021 for your reading pleasure.
Feature Image: Jaimy Leemburg/Unsplash
 

Laila Lopes
I'm a journalist. Often, self- instructed to be curious. For most of the time, my brain is quite an imaginative engine. Inspiration and ideas often arise after 8 hours of sleep.

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