If you only think that Amsterdam offers bike rides, canal trips, and “free people” taking part of legal marijuana, you will be pleasantly surprised to discover rich forests, dunes, lakes and streams. Nature is within easy reach of Amsterdam’s city center.
Visit Amsterdam’s Zoological Museum dating back to 1838. Walk thought Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam forest) one of the largest city parks in Europe. Explore natural waterscapes and dune landscapes. Lange Bretten is Amsterdam’s wilderness alive with foxes, buzzards and falcons hunting for frogs, toads and fish.
Amsterdam enjoys the reputation as a center of natural history. Sailors brought back exotic animals and plants which were cataloged and displayed by scientists. The Amsterdam Zoological Museum has over 15 million items in exquisite collections of birds, amphibians, insects and reptiles.
Green City Park is an example of why Amsterdam is one of the greenest cities in Europe. Amsterdamse Bos contains over 150 indigenous classes of trees and you can count over 200 species of birds. Amsterdamse Bos started out as a reforestation project in 1934, and it is now over 1000 hectares. Natural habitat for rabbits, squirrels, and frogs plus thousands of birds, you can also see wild orchids and rare plants. The botanical garden in the Bos is truly a magical experience.
Because of its proximity to water, Amsterdam and the surrounding areas are perfect for taking a day hike or bike ride.
Dune landscapes near Amsterdam are mind-boggling. The Dune landscape features hiking, cycling, horse-back riding and swimming. The flora and fauna that thrive in the area include extraordinary toadstools, exotic plants and famous flowers. Watch out for foxes, rabbits and squirrels as well as the occasional Highland cow.
The Lange Bretten is Amsterdam’s wilderness. It is the last city wilderness in Holland. De Lange Bretten is half a kilometer wide and ten kilometers long. Many different kinds of animals live in Lange Bretten, and it is home to the muddy boot trail. This nature track wanders through an area you may never see again.
As you ride the train between Amsterdam and Vlissingen, you will go through the Oostvaardersplassen. The Oostvaardersplassen represents man’s efforts to reintroduce the megafauna and animals that man has wiped out. Hermann Goring (yes of the Third Reich) attempted to breed aurochs with primitive cattle from zoos. He imported Konik ponies and shipped in red deer. Today you can spot the wolf wandering through the unpopulated areas.
Artis Royal Zoo is the oldest zoo on the European continent. There is a virtual alphabet of wildlife including alligators, birds, chimps right through to zebras. The layout filled with ponds; leafy winding pathways and statues is a cool walk through nature. Habitats are almost perfect, and they are very convincing. The aquarium complex is the highlight of the zoo. There is also an Amtram canal displayed from a fish’s point of view. Zoos tend to fill nature’s hole in visitors, and this old but very well-kept zoo is perfect for studying nature.