New Land National Park is literally new land, land that wasn’t there before! Nieuw Land National Park is the youngest national park in the Netherlands. It consists of the Oostvaardersplassen, the Lepelaarplassen and the Marker Wadden.

Nieuw Land is the last National Park we visit for our Challenge 21 National Parks. Last year we visited all National Parks! Do you want to read more about our adventures ? Here you can read all about the parks we allready visited. Nieuw Land is one of them!

Typical New Land National Park

We have already visited the Oostvaardersplassen in the past. We then walked the forest ranger’s path Het Lange Pad. And we once went on an excursion from Staatsbosbeheer to see the bellowing deer. The Oostvaardersplassen are therefore familiar territory. However, we do not know the other parts of New Land.

New Land is a vast area. It consists of huge bodies of water, swamp, forest and wet grasslands. The national park is located in Flevoland, this country was formed by man.

Cornelis Lely

Cornelis Lely came up with the idea of ​​reclaiming the ZuiderZee as early as 1891. Finally, in 1924, the Zuiderzee Works were started. First the dikes were built; the Amsteldiepdijk and the Afsluitdijk, that is how the IJsselmeer was created. The Noordoostpolder was the first to be drained (1942), followed later by the eastern (1957) and southern polder (1968). The twelfth province of the Netherlands was born!

The area where the Oostvaardersplassen is now located was originally intended as an industrial area. There was no immediate need, so the puddles were left alone. This created a vast area that became increasingly attractive for all kinds of (breeding) birds. Later on, more and more different animals were added, such as the fox.

There are two visitor centers in the Oostvaardersplassen: Almere and Lelystad. All kinds of routes start here, you can take a look through the binoculars, have a bite to eat or arrange excursions.


There is also a visitor center of the FlevoLandschap at the Lepelaarplassen. The Lepelaarplassen are located near Almere. The Lepelaarplassen have also been a nature reserve since the reclamation. Special birds such as the White-tailed Eagle breed here. You can take a number of attractive walks through the area.

The Marker Wadden are the latest addition to this National Park. You can visit this new part of the Netherlands with various ferry services. There are bird hides and a lookout tower. A visit to the Marker Wadden is still on our wish list.

My humble opinion….

We have visited the Nieuw Land National Park before, at least the Oostvaardersplassen. This time we did a bike ride. It must be home to an enormous wealth of birds and beautiful nature. And yet….every time I visit this area I am a bit disappointed. Of course I am very spoiled because I have already seen many beautiful places. However, we did not spot a single deer or Konik horse during our bike ride. It is such a vast area that an encounter with game is like looking for a needle in a haystack. In a number of places we were able to observe birds and of course it is a beautiful vast area.

But I think it’s a shame that the bike ride we made around the area indeed only goes around, you hardly go anywhere in the area. That makes you watch the area from a distance but experience it less really. The day we visited the park it was warm, but also cloudy. Not an ideal day to experience all the splendor of this park at its best, so that also plays a role. We really want to go to the Marker Wadden one day and I hope to have a more positive experience. Because, unfortunately, Nieuw Land National Park is not in my top five of the most beautiful parks in the Netherlands.

The route

We start our bike ride at the Buitencentrum Oostvaardersplassen near Lelystad. Here you can easily pick up the waypoints.

The first part of the tour goes along the Lage Vaart. We cross a number of streams and are surrounded by huge Hogweeds. They really are a plague here!


Then we drive through the Kotterbos. An attractive part of the Oostvaardersplassen. A varied forest, where you can also walk.

We pass the Oostvaarders Natuur Belevings Center. It is very busy there because a festival is organized with all kinds of activities. Like the one near Lelystad, this nature experience center is attractively located on the water with a beautiful view of the area.

We drive through the Oostrandpark into Almere. I forgot my SD card, so we buy one. Then we drive via the Grote Vaartweg to the Lepelaarplassen.

Bird watching

We park our bicycles at the Lepelaarplassen for a walk. We take a look at the observation hut. Bird watchers tell us that the bald eagle has a nest. The sea eagles feed their young. In good spirits we go to the hut. Unfortunately we didn’t spot a bald eagle.

It is busy with other birds. We see a brooding grebe, coots, a little grebe, an eider, two barn swallows and a couple of cormorants a little further away. Apart from the mosquitoes, it is a pleasant place to watch nature!


We drive via the Oostvaardersdijk towards Lelystad. To our left we have the Markermeer and to our right the view of the Oostvaardersplassen. But our experience is somewhat nullified by the noise of the cars speeding by. Even if you cycle on a separate cycle path, it is a pity.

Here and there are a group of benches where you can observe the birds well. Here we see spoonbills and avocets.

Via the Knardijk we return to the outdoor center. We have covered about 48 kilometers.