In the Netherlands – and more specifically the northern part of the Netherlands – we may hardly have any mountains or hills, but the beauty of our nature isn’t negatively affected by that. On the contrary. The lowlands provide you with beautiful views of vast meadows, interspersed with wetlands. Moreover, every season has a different influence on nature, so you constantly see new colors, flowers and animals.
Nature reserves are often even more beautiful seen from the water than from the road, and are therefore perfect to explore by boat. Below, we therefore show you our three favorite wetland nature reserves in the Northern Netherlands: Alde Feanen, Weerribben-Wieden and Lauwersmeer.
National Park De Alde Feanen
The Alde Feanen National Park has a special location in relation to our marina in Drachten: you sail through the National Park (about 6 km away from the marina) to well-known Frisian water sports cities and villages. This allows you to fully enjoy the many mooring options, activities and nature along the way.
The Alde Feanen has many different landscape types. Therefore, it’s bursting with different types of plants and animals: there are more than one hundred species of breeding birds and you will find more than four hundred different plant species. The reserve is one of the largest low peat bog areas in Europe. The watery area is perfect to discover by boat: by canoe or small whisper boat, but also for larger motor boats there are many routes and moorings in the great outdoors. In addition, there are various cycling and walking routes and many activities are organized for children. You can find more information on the website of De Alde Feanen.
The Weerribben-Wieden National Park
The Weerribben-Rieben National Park is a national park in the north of the province of Overijssel, near Meppel. The park looks unspoilt: endless reed fields, swamp forests, water and birds. But appearances are deceiving, because in reality this nature area was created by man. The peat that had formed over the course of thousands of years was almost completely excavated within three hundred years. Peat extraction has changed the landscape into the largest swamp area in Western Europe.
The best way to discover De Weerribben is by canoe or boat. Via the Tjeukemeer you sail towards Ossenzijl, from which you can sail into the nature reserve. You can never get lost wandering through the reed lands, because all canals end up on the main canal: the Kalenbergergracht. Tip: rent a canoe to paddle through the beautiful meadows or go into the mysterious swamp forest. Would you like to spend the night in the Weerribben? The Ossenzijl marina is a cozy place for that.
More information about the Weerribben National Park can be found on the website of the Weerribben.
Lauwersmeer National Park
The Lauwersmeer National Park is located on the border of Friesland and Groningen. The area is also called a “bird paradise on a former seabed”. There used to be a bay here, the Lauwerszee, but the area was drained due to fear of flooding. A beautiful new landscape then emerged on the seabed, where many birds can now be found. In addition to birds, there are also many fish. Which is why fishing boats depart from Lauwersoog every day to bring in fresh fish.
The park connects with one of the big prides of the Dutch: the world heritage site the Wadden Sea. The Wadden Sea is a nature reserve that is constantly changing, due to the rhythm of ebb and flow. At low tide, you can walk here. You can start many beautiful hiking trips along the Wadden Sea from Lauwersoog. Some routes start from a so-called “dry fall location”, to which you will first be taken by boat. You can find more information about this area on the website of the Lauwersmeer National Park.
Sailing through the beautiful nature of the north of the Netherlands
As you have read, the Northern Netherlands offers beautiful nature: serene water-rich places to discover by boat, by bike or on foot. All nature reserves can be easily reached by boat from our marina in Drachten. We are also happy to help you map out a beautiful route that includes these areas.