Overview of all national parks in the Netherlands

The gorgeous national parks in The Netherlands

Did you know that there are more than 20 national parks in the Netherlands? This is a complete overview of all national parks in the Netherlands.

How many national parks are there in The Netherlands?

The Netherlands has 21 national parks. All these parks together provide a complete overview of the Dutch landscape. For example, in the parks, you will see dunes, heath, forests, fens and low moors. There are one or more national parks in every Dutch province.

These are some fun facts about the national parks in The Netherlands:

  • Veluwezoom National Park was the first Dutch national park in 1930.
  • The newest national park is Nieuw Land National Park. This is a national park since 2018.
  • Oosterschelde National Park is the largest national park
  • And De Groote Peel National Park is the smallest.
  • The provinces with the most national parks are Friesland and Noord-Brabant, they both have four. Friesland has to share two of these with another province and Noord-Brabant shares three national parks with other provinces.

What about the national parks in Holland?

Are you looking for national parks in Holland? Then this is your list! Many people think that Holland and The Netherlands are the same, but Holland is only a small part of The Netherlands. The Netherlands has twelve provinces en two of them are North-Holland (where Amsterdam is located) and South Holland (where you can find Rotterdam and The Hague). Together, those provinces are called Holland.

Overview: these are all national parks in the Netherlands

These are all national parks in the Netherlands, in alphabetical order:

Alde Feanen National Park.

Alde Feanen National Park.

De Alde Feanen National Park is a gem in the middle of the province of Friesland. The area is a low peat bog and originated from peat excavations. This national park is perfect for water sports enthusiasts, as it consists largely of water. You can enjoy canoeing or paddleboarding here. In addition, there are several beautiful cycling and hiking trails (don’t forget to wear waterproof shoes!). The park is also popular with bird watchers, with more than 100 species of birds living there.

  • Province: Friesland
  • Size: 4000 ha
  • A national park since 2006
  • Highlights: lakes, waterways, peat soil, and many bird species.
  • Official website

De Biesbosch National Park

De Biesbosch National Park

Photo: Rene Hoegee | Pixabay

The Biesbosch is located near Dordrecht and is the largest freshwater tidal area in Europe. The area is therefore regularly flooded. You will find many willow-flood forests and creeks here and it is somewhat like The Everglades, one of the most famous national parks in America. Fortunately, there are no alligators in De Biesbosch. The best way to explore De Biesbosch is by boat.

  • Provinces: North Brabant and South Holland
  • Size: 9000 ha
  • A national park since 1994
  • Highlights: explore the Biesbosch by boat, willow tidal forests, and beavers.
  • Official website

Drentsche Aa National Park

Walking across the Ballooërveld

The Drentsche Aa is a stream valley landscape in the north of the province of Drenthe and is located between Assen, Gieten, and Glimmen. It is a combination of the landscape created by an age-old collaboration between nature and people: streams and agriculture.

Nowhere else in The Netherlands you will find so many prehistoric remains, in many places you can find burial mounds and hunebeds (dolmen). The landscape includes fens, forests, heath, and sand lakes.

  • Province: Drenthe
  • Size: 10600 ha
  • A national park since 2002
  • Highlights: dolmens, the Balloërveld (with sheepfold), and the Gasterse Duinen (dunes and heather).
  • Official website

De Groote Peel National Park

De Groote Peel National Park

Photo: Joep Wijsbek | Pixabay

De Groote Peel National Park is located on the border of the provinces Limburg and North Brabant, between Eindhoven and Venlo. It is a high moor area and that is very special because it is rare in The Netherlands. The landscape consists of lots of water, swamp, heath, and forests. The many hiking trails and bat bridges make it a great area for hiking enthusiasts.

  • Provinces: North Brabant and Limburg
  • Size: 1340 ha
  • A national park since 1993
  • Highlights: peat bog, bat trails, and heather.
  • Official website (only in Dutch)

De Hoge Veluwe National Park

De Hoge Veluwe National Park

De Hoge Veluwe National Park is a special one: it is not only nature but also history and culture. This is a former hunting ground, there are many wild animals (you will undoubtedly see a few deer during your visit) and in the park is one of the most impressive museums in The Netherlands: the Kröller-Müller Museum. In this museum you will find the second-largest Van Gogh collection in the world. The easiest way to explore the park is to take one of the (free) white bicycles and go cycling.

Note: Unlike most other national parks in The Netherlands, a visit to De Hoge Veluwe National Park is not free. You can buy an admission ticket online or at one of the entrances.

  • Province: Gelderland
  • Size: 5500 ha
  • A national park since 1935
  • Highlights: spotting animals, the heath, the Kröller-Müller Museum, and a bike ride on the white bicycles.
  • Official website

De Loonse en Drunense Duinen National Park

De Loonse en Drunense Duinen National Park is also sometimes referred to as the Sahara in Brabant. This is because there are many large sandy plains full of drifting dunes that continuously change place and shape. In addition, you will also find beautiful forests and a swamp landscape in this park.

  • Province: North Brabant
  • Size: 3700 ha
  • A national park since 2002
  • Highlights: the drifting dunes of course!
  • Official website (only in Dutch)

De Maasduinen National Park

De Maasduinen National Park

Photo: Alfred Derks | Pixabay

De Maasduinen National Park is located in the north of Limburg on the border of Germany. It is an elongated area along the river Maas full of dunes, making it the longest river dune belt in the Netherlands. In addition to dunes, there are also forests, heathland, fens, and raised moors.

  • Province: Limburg
  • Size: 4500 ha
  • A national park since 1996
  • Highlights: forests, heath, and various types of dunes.
  • Official website (only in Dutch)

De Meinweg National Park

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De Meinweg National Park is located in the middle of Limburg, near the city of Roermond. It has a terraced landscape, which is unique to The Netherlands. There are three terraces with a height difference of 50 meters. Brook valleys have developed between the terraces and in between, there are forests, fens, and heaths. Adders (the only poisonous snake in The Netherlands) and wild boars live in the park.

  • Province: Limburg
  • Size: 1700 ha
  • A national park since 1990
  • Highlights: the terraced landscape and the stream valleys.
  • Official website (only in Dutch)

Drents-Friese Wold National Park

Drents-Friese Wold National Park

Photo: MarjanNo | Pixabay

One of the largest nature reserves in the Netherlands is Drents-Friese Wold National Park. As the name suggests, it lies on the border of the provinces of Friesland and Drenthe. It is a gigantic area with forest, heathland, drifting sand, and brook valley grasslands. There are several watchtowers in the park, from here you have a fantastic view of the area.

  • Provinces: Drenthe and Friesland
  • Size: 6100 ha
  • A national park since 2000
  • Highlights: lookout tower on the Bosberg, cycling, and hiking (there are 30 different hiking routes).
  • Official website

Duinen van Texel National Park

The entire dune area of the island of Texel is a national park. In addition to dunes, heaths, salt marshes, dune valleys, forests, and extensive beaches can also be found here. So the landscape is very varied! It consists of many different areas, such as the Eierland dunes near the lighthouse, the Mok Bay, and the Krimbos.

  • Province: Noord-Holland
  • Size: 4300 ha
  • A national park since 2002
  • Highlights: the Slufter and the large sandbank De Hors.
  • Official website

Dwingelderveld National Park

Dwingelderveld National Park

Photo: 0805edwin | Pixabay

The Dwingelerveld is located close to Drents-Friese Wold National Park. This is the largest continuous wet heathland area in Western Europe. In the area, you will find heaths, fens, peat bogs, forest, and drifting sand. You can also view the es-villages of Ruinen and Dwingeloo, where you can imagine yourself a century back in time.

  • Province: Drenthe
  • Size: 3700 ha
  • A national park since 1991
  • Highlights: the sheepfolds and the villages.
  • Official website

Lauwersmeer National Park

Lauwersmeer National Park is located on the border of the provinces of Friesland and Groningen. The Lauwerszee was originally located here, but it was closed in 1969 (for fear of flooding). The old seabed dried up and a beautiful nature reserve was created. In Lauwersmeer National Park you can enjoy hiking, cycling and swimming on hot summer days.

Fun fact: Lauwersmeer National Park has been declared a Dark Sky Park and is one of the darkest places in The Netherlands. Here you have a good view of the starry sky (which is rare in The Netherlands), and if you’re lucky you can even see the Milky Way!

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  • Provinces: Groningen and Friesland
  • Size: 6000 ha
  • A national park since 2003
  • Highlights: starry sky, beaches, water, reed beds, and forest.
  • Official website

Nieuw Land National Park

Nieuw Land National Park is the newest national park, but also one of the most special national parks: it was created by people. The draining of the province of Flevoland is the largest land reclamation project in the world. The park consists largely of water and has several areas that you can visit. Fun to do: go on safari with the forester in the Oostvaardersplassen.

  • Province: Flevoland
  • Size: 28900 ha
  • A national park since 2018
  • Highlights: the Oostvaardersplassen, the Lepelaarsplassen and the Marker Wadden.
  • Official website

Oosterschelde National Park

Oosterschelde National Park

Photo: Alfred Derks | Pixabay

The largest national park in The Netherlands is the Oosterschelde National Park in Zeeland. The Oosterschelde is in open connection with the North Sea via the storm surge barrier and the landscape is constantly changing due to the tide. At low tide, you can see the mudflats and sandbanks and at high tide, it is a big party with the wind and the water. Do you like eating mussels, oysters, or lobsters? This is where you can get the most delicious seafood in The Netherlands!

  • Province: Zeeland
  • Size: 37000 ha
  • National park since: 2002
  • Highlights: spotting seals and porpoises and dike house Wissenkerke.
  • Official website

Sallandse Heuvelrug National Park

Sallandse Heuvelrug

When you walk around the De Sallandse Heuvelrug national park, it seems like you are not in The Netherlands, but in a different country. It is a beautiful rolling landscape and the views are absolutely gorgeous! The Sallandse Heuvelrug is located in Overijssel and is a lateral moraine from the penultimate Ice Age. In addition to many beautiful forests, you will find here one of the largest contiguous dry heathland areas in Europe.

  • Province: Overijssel
  • Size: 3500 ha
  • A national park since 2004
  • Highlights: Noetselerberg viewpoint, walking across the vast heathland and sheepfolds.
  • Official website

Schiermonnikoog National Park

Schiermonnikoog

Photo: Nick van der Ende | Unsplash

There are five inhabited Dutch Wadden Islands, and the only Wadden Island that is also a national park is Schiermonnikoog. This is a small island and is seen as the most peaceful Wadden Island. If you make the crossing by ferry, your car is not allowed. On the island, you will find only one village (called Schiermonnikoog) and other than that, it is mainly nature! It is one of the most unspoiled places in the Netherlands and very popular for its many cycling and hiking trails.

  • Province: Friesland
  • Size: 5400 ha
  • A national park since 1989
  • Highlights: Unspoilt countryside, seals, and two lighthouses.
  • Official website (only in Dutch)

Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park

Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park

Photo: Alissa van Velhuizen | Unsplash

Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park is located in the center of the Netherlands. Just like the Sallandse Heuvelrug, the Utrechtse Heuvelrug was also created by a lateral moraine from the Ice Age. The hilly landscape consists of a lot of forests (after the Veluwe it is the largest forest area in the Netherlands) and heath. What makes it even more special is that there is a lot of cultural history to be found, there are many estates and castles.

  • Province: Utrecht
  • Size: 10000 ha
  • A national park since 2003
  • Highlights: the Lange Duinen, the Amerongseberg and Soestdijk Palace.
  • Official website (only in Dutch)

Veluwezoom National Park

Veluwezoom National Park

The oldest national park in the Netherlands is the Veluwezoom National Park. It is special because of its high location and it is bursting with beautiful forests and heaths in a hilly area. It is a wonderful area for long cycling and hiking trips.

  • Province: Gelderland
  • Size: 5000 ha
  • A national park since 1930
  • Highlights: the Posbank and the bright purple heaths in August.
  • Official website (only in Dutch)

Weerribben-Wieden National Park

Weerribben-Wieden National Park

Photo: Jan Nijman | Pixabay

Weerribben-Wieden National Park is located near Giethoorn in the province of Overijssel. This is the largest peat bog in Western Europe. It is a landscape full of reedlands, lakes, swamp forests, canals, and quaking bogs. You can go boating, hiking, and cycling, but it is also worthwhile to visit one or more historic villages in the area. For example Ossenzijl and Paasloo.

  • Province: Overijssel
  • Size: 10500 ha
  • A national park since 1992
  • Highlights: Visit the most beautiful places in the national park with an excursion boat.
  • Official website

Zoom–Kalmthoutse Heide Cross-Border Park

Zoom–Kalmthoutse Heide Cross-Border Park

Photo: Rene Hoegee | Pixabay

De Zoom–Kalmthoutse Heide Cross-Border Park is unique because it is the only national park that The Netherlands shares with the neighboring country Belgium. The park is located between Bergen op Zoom and Antwerp and it is an enormously diverse and varied landscape. It consists of heath, fens, inland dunes, and extensive forests that alternate.

  • Provinces: North Brabant and Antwerp (Belgium)
  • Size: 3750 ha
  • A national park since 2001
  • Highlights: rare plants and animals, resting areas, and there are no fewer than 24 different walking routes.
  • Official website (only in Dutch)

Zuid-Kennemerland National Park

Scottish highlander in Zuid-Kennemerland National Park

Zuid-Kennemerland National Park is located between Zandvoort and Haarlem and has a very diverse landscape. It’s the best national park to visit as a day trip from Amsterdam.

Here you will find endless beaches, an undulating dune landscape, forests, lakes, and even a number of estates. Chances are you will see wild animals here because, in addition to many bird species, a number of large mammals also live here. Think, for example, of fallow deer, foxes, Scottish highlanders, and even European bison.

  • Province: Noord-Holland
  • Size: 3800 ha
  • National park since: 1995
  • Highlights: Bison, dunes, beach, and estates.
  • Official website

Map: all national parks in the Netherlands

This is a map of the 21 national parks in the Netherlands:

How many national parks in the Netherlands have you visited?

Discover more beautiful places in the Netherlands

Do you want to discover more beautiful places in The Netherlands? Get one of these great guidebooks:

DK Eyewitness Netherlands

Lonely Planet The Netherlands

You might like to read these articles as well if you’d like to explore more beautiful places in The Netherlands:

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Co

Hi! I'm Co and a travel addict. On this website, I'll share stories of my travel adventures and share some travel tips. I'll make sure to keep you inspired for your next trip!

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