Get lost in 56 km of untouched nature, stand face tot face with wild animals during a safari or survival on a deserted island. I’m not talking about Kenya, South-America or Sri Lanka. Adventure awaits and it may be closer to home than you think. Actually, for Dutchies not even a two-hour car ride. You can find it in the Oostvaardersplassen in Flevoland, the youngest province of the Netherlands.
The polder was created in the center of the country, where the Zuiderzee used to be. Officially established in 1986 and already an attractive residential and recreational area with a growing number of inhabitants. Let me take you on a virtual tour through the largest artificial island in the world. Not only humans enjoy the wide marshlands and pristine grasslands of the Oostvaardersplassen. It’s also a paradise for birds, Konik horses and deer. You can spot these wild animals and many others during a safari or together with the local forest ranger. There are also special cycling and hiking routes set around the area. More of an water person then an animal lover? With over 90.000 hectares of water, Flevoland is heaven on earth for sailors, fishermen and watersport enthusiasts. After all, Flevoland used the be the Zuiderzee so it’s not a big surprise. The remaining water consists of the IJsselmeer, the Markermeer and the Randmeren. You will find modern marinas and various possibilities of all kinds of water sports to explore the wild (and not so wild) waters of Flevoland. For example, rent a Catamaran at Sail Today for physical action or take a trip on a Rib Boat to enjoy the water at the speed of light (of at least, it feels that way).
Tip » Do you prefer a spot on the front row and are you not afraid of heights? Experience the Oostvaardersplassen, LandArt and BataviaHarbor from a small air plane. Book your flight here.
Do you like art and architecture? Flevoland has many exhibitions, festivals and special buildings. You don’t even have to go to a museum to check out the artworks. Seven of the eight Lands Arts Works that the Netherlands have to offer are hidden in Flevoland. In place you didn’t expect, in the middle of the landscape. They created a car and bike route along the different Land Arts Works, a great way to discover Flevoland.
Tip » Getting hungry? Enjoy freshly caught fish at Restaurant de Kaap in Urk, a traditional and characteristic fishing village in the northwest of Flevoland. The village used to be an island and still has its own dialect and way of living. When you’re there, don’t forget to check out the small monumental houses, cozy squares and beautiful harbor.
Where to Sleep
Go back to basics in a tipi on the desert island De Kluut or spend your night underneath the starts on Camping Raft in the midst of the beautiful, rugged nature of the Stille Ken in Zeewolde.
My favorite place to sleep is at Netl, the wildest garden, in the north of Flevoland. Beaches, natural playgrounds, bamboo jungle, 18 hole pitch & putt golf course and cozy beach pavilion; the perfect place break and balance your daily routines. Sleep at the campsite or in one of the unique accommodations, for example the sea container or Pipowagen.
Flevoland is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the beauty of nature close to home. A 50-minute car ride from Amsterdam brings me to a whole other world, far away from the buzz from the city. Summer dress and flipflop weather is not guaranteed unfortunately, but the landscape and tranquility brings a valid holiday vibe (even when it rains). And beside that, just imagine how romantic it would be to sleep underneath the stars in the middle of a lake…