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  • Matis Caulier

Top National Parks in the Netherlands

When you think of the Netherlands, images of windmills, tulip fields, and charming canals might come to mind. However, this small but beautiful country is also home to some stunning national parks that offer a diverse range of landscapes, from dunes and forests to wetlands and heathlands. Here are five of the top national parks in the Netherlands that are definitely worth a visit.

Hoge Veluwe National Park

Hoge Veluwe National Park is one of the largest and most famous national parks in the Netherlands. Spanning over 5,400 hectares, it offers a rich diversity of landscapes, including heathlands, forests, sand dunes, and marshes. The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, such as red deer, wild boar, and mouflon.

A unique feature of Hoge Veluwe is the Kröller-Müller Museum, which houses an impressive collection of modern art, including works by Vincent van Gogh. Visitors can explore the park using the free white bicycles provided, making it an eco-friendly and enjoyable way to see the sights.

De Biesbosch National Park

Located in the southwest of the Netherlands, De Biesbosch National Park is a unique freshwater tidal wetland. It is one of the few places in the world where the tides influence a freshwater area, creating a dynamic and ever-changing landscape.

The park is a haven for birdwatchers, with many species of waterfowl, birds of prey, and even the occasional osprey making an appearance. Canoeing and kayaking are popular activities here, allowing visitors to navigate the maze of rivers, creeks, and willow forests while experiencing the tranquility and beauty of the park up close.

Zuid-Kennemerland National Park

Zuid-Kennemerland National Park is located near the North Sea coast, just a short distance from Amsterdam. The park is known for its coastal dunes, which are among the highest and widest in the country. These dunes provide a natural barrier against the sea and are home to a variety of flora and fauna.

Visitors can explore the park on foot, by bike, or on horseback, taking in the picturesque landscapes of dune valleys, forests, and sandy beaches. The park also offers a glimpse into history with the ruins of Brederode Castle and the remnants of World War II bunkers scattered throughout the area.

Dwingelderveld National Park

Dwingelderveld National Park is Europe's largest wet heathland, located in the province of Drenthe. This serene park is characterized by its extensive heathlands, peat bogs, and small forests. It is also a vital habitat for many rare plant and animal species, including the moor frog and the European adder.

The park features numerous walking and cycling trails that allow visitors to explore its natural beauty. Birdwatchers will especially appreciate the park’s diverse bird population, including cranes, curlews, and hen harriers. In addition, the night sky here is exceptionally clear, making it a great spot for stargazing.

Schiermonnikoog National Park

Schiermonnikoog National Park is located on the island of the same name, which is part of the Wadden Sea UNESCO World Heritage site. This island park is known for its wide, sandy beaches, dunes, tidal flats, and salt marshes.

The island’s small size makes it perfect for exploring by bike or on foot. Visitors can enjoy birdwatching, as the park is an important breeding ground for many bird species. The pristine natural environment and the absence of cars create a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere, making Schiermonnikoog a true escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The Netherlands' national parks offer a variety of natural wonders and outdoor activities that cater to all interests. Whether you're an art lover, a birdwatcher, a history buff, or simply someone who enjoys the great outdoors, there's a Dutch national park that will captivate and inspire you. So next time you’re in the Netherlands, be sure to take some time to explore these beautiful and diverse landscapes.

To continue discovering more hidden gems and captivating destinations, stay tuned for more articles on our website. Follow us @thewalkingparrot to be continuously updated on new releases and join us as we embark on new adventures. We will be back soon with a new article! If you're visiting Lisbon, make sure to try our Fado, Food, and Wine tour!

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