The Netherlands are small and quite densely populated. But for a relatively small country, it has a very rich variety of nature. The beaches of Zeeland, the rolling hills of Limburg, the variety in Hoge Veluwe national park and freshwater delta of Bieschbosch are exquisite. Personally, I can’t stay away from Dutch nature reserves when heather fields are in full bloom and large parts of The Netherlands turn a deep shade of purple. If you’d like to see heather fields in The Netherlands, this is where you should go.
When to see heather fields in The Netherlands
From early August on a large part of The Netherlands turn a deep shade of purple once the heather plants start blooming. I think it can easily be compared to the blooming lavender fields of Provence, it’s that pretty. Every year, many people are waiting anxiously for the heather fields to bloom in August. As a large part of The Netherlands is covered in moorland, the spectacular blooming heather can be seen in many places: near the coast, in forested areas and in sandy areas. You probably never realised heather was so Dutch. Though I think the heather fields are one of 15 reasons to come to The Netherlands in autumn. In general you’ll be able to see heather in full bloom from mid August until the second week of September.
Where to see heather fields in The Netherlands?
Veluwezoom & Posbank
Veluwezoom is the oldest national park of The Netherlands and probably the most stunning place to see heather in full bloom. The visitors centre in Rheden is the starting point of dozens of walking and cycling trails. Spending a day in this national park is well-recommended. You may even spot some deer or wild bore!
- Take a train to Rheden, the national park is just around the corner.
- If you’re planning to stay the night in a beautiful national park, Boutique Hotel Beekhuizen is where you should go. Many walking and cycling trails start right at the hotel, and you’re able to rent bikes there.
Hilversum & Laren
Zuiderheide in Laren (NH) is actually where I’d love to go for a walk in the heather fields. I used to work nearby in Hilversum and during lunchtime we would sometimes walk from the newspaper’s office to Theehuis ‘t Bluk on Zuiderheide. This small restaurant is actually quite lovely and a great place to start your walk across the heather fields. There are several trails, a visit to Zuiderheide is recommended for an hour or two. Alternatively, you can see heather fields in full bloom at Hoorneboegse Heide, close to the small airport of Hilversum.
Visiting Hilversum & Laren
- Take the train to Hilversum to visit Zuiderheide in Laren (NH) or the train to Hollandse Rading to visit Hoornboegse Heide.
- Want to stay nearby? De Blauwe Deur is close to the natural park and a great place to relax in nature.
Leusden is a village close to Utrecht and Amersfoort with Leusderheide, the heather fields near the village, being its most important attraction. To visit Leusderheide you either park your car at Doornseweg, or take a train to Maarn and walk to Leusderheide. This walking trail ensures lots of heather, though you need to keep an eye out as it’s also a cycling and MTB trail.
Ginkelse heide, between Ede and Arnhem, is not only a very special place to see heater fields in The Netherlands, but it’s also of historical importance. Ginkelse heide was the place where thousands of paratroopers from the allied forces landed during Operation Market Garden in 1944. Untill this day you can find WOII memorials in the natural park, like the Airborne Monument. If you’d like to learn more, visit the Airborne Museum at Hartenstein or follow part of the Liberation Route.
Visit Ginkelse heide
- Take a train to Ede to visit Ginkelse heide. If you’re interested in the liberation route, best take a train to Arnhem or Oosterbeek.
- If you’d like to stay and discover the heather fields of Ginkelse heide as well as the liberation route Hotel De Buunderkamp is a great pick.
Nationaal Park Dwingelderveld
Nationaal Park Dwingelderveld in the Drenthe province in the east of The Netherlands is one of the largest national parks in The Netherlands. During your walk you’ll be treated to forests, sand dunes and plains of heather fields. The national park is actually full of wetlands, but thanks to many boardwalks these won’t bother you during your walk.
- To visit Drenthe you best rent a car, as that’s the easiest way to get close to Nationaal Park Dwingelderveld.
- Explore the heather fields and other sights in Drenthe from Hotel Kuik, near the National Park, or Landal Exloo.
Texel is one of the lovely islands in the north of The Netherlands, and the largest of the Wadden islands. All the dunes of the islands form a national park and is rich of heather fields too. If you visit Texel at the end of August or the beginning of september you can be sure to see some beautiful blooming heather during your walks or bike rides.
- Take a train to Den Helder, then hop on a bus to the ferry or rent a car to travel to Texel. If you drive, be sure to book your ferry ticket in advance so you don’t have to wait in line.
- Staying at Landal Sluftervallei is an absolute must! All cottages are spread out amongst the dunes and the holiday park has lots of facilities. Perfect for families. Read more about Landal Sluftervallei.
- If you’d rather stay at a hotel, Just Texel Suites comes highly recommended.
- Read more about Texel, The Netherlands.
Since I also spotted heather fields on texel I shouldn’t have been too surprised to also spot some on Ameland, which is also part of the Wadden islands. Cars are allowed on the island, though it’s a much better plan to discover Ameland by bike, as it offers you acces to hidden beaches and the best views over the island. It was during one of my bike rides that I discovered some heather fields on Amelands, close to the Golf Club and cycling alongside the small airport to the beach.
- The easiest way to get to Ameland from anywhere is by car, with your own car or a rental car, as it will take a long time to get to the ferry by public transport. Always book your ferry tickets way (!) in advance.
- I loved staying at Roompot Boomhiemke, in a beach cottage amongst the dunes. Van Heekeren Hotel is also absolutely lovely.
- Read more about Ameland, The Netherlands.
Loonse en Drunense Duinen
Nationaal Park Loonse and Drunense Duinen, near Tilburg, is one of the most unlikely natural phenomenons you’ll ever see in The Netherlands. This national park consists mostly of ‘walking’ dunes. Lots of walking and cycling trails start at the visiting centre in Udenhout and will take you along heather fields, sand dunes and through forests.
Visit Loonse en Drunense Duinen
- You best park your car near the visitor centre in Udenhout.
- If you’d like to stay close, stay at brand new Landal Kaatsheuvel, Holidaypark Duinhoeve (really close to the national park) or Hotel d’n Dries.
Heather fields, The Netherlands
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