Waterland is the name of the green countryside just north of Amsterdam. As the name suggests, Waterland is both water and land. Almost half of this region is water, with thousands of small canals, brooks, rivers and lakes. It’s the ‘wet back garden of Amsterdam’.
This rural area has a truly ancient Dutch landscape: perfectly flat, with many old ‘polders’ (reclaimed land areas), lush green pastures, winding dikes and working windmills. Waterland is Holland in a nutshell, just a stone’s throw away from the busy city. Yet this region is totally different from Amsterdam. It’s a place where -as we say in Holland- ‘the clock ticks more slowly’.
Old Dutch villages
Hidden between the pastures and canals are some of the most beautiful villages Holland has to offer, like Monnickendam, Marken, Broek in Waterland, Ilpendam, Uitdam and Zuiderwoude. Each village used to be an island surrounded by water, and because of this isolation each village has its own atmosphere and history. These old villages date back from the Dutch Golden Age and are well preserved. The houses are brightly painted and made out of wood. Stone is too heavy for the spongy peat soil!
Explore Waterland by boat
The best way to explore the backcountry of Waterland is by low, flat bottomed boat. With an electrical engine you can glide noiselessly over the water and pass under the low bridges. Once you’re on the water, you’ll be immersed in nature. With nothing but green reeds all around you and the blue sky above, the only way to navigate is by steering towards a church tower on the distant horizon. An excellent place to get lost! The further you get, the fewer people you meet. Springtime is a good time to appreciate the hidden gems of Waterland. The reedlands turn into a sea of pink, when the gillyflowers blossom. Or you can try your weight by walking on a floating meadow, a patch of peat and plants that literally floats on water.
Nature close to Amsterdam
Nature’s never far away. These fields are home of many Dutch cows, some of who rarely see humans, so they are very curious about you. Waterland is also a paradise for waterbirds and you will see thousands of swans, geese and ducks. As the most important nesting ground for meadow birds in Europe, you are also likely to see the acrobatic, beautifully dark green Northern Lapwing and the Godwit, the national bird of The Netherlands.
|Country name||The Netherlands|