In the densely populated Dutch province of Zuid Holland is one of the country's most valuable nature reserves: Hollandse Duinen National Park. Hollandse Duinen is the wide area stretching along the coast from Hoek van Holland to Hillegom. This unique landscape was created as a result of rising sea levels over 5000 years ago.
#zeevanruimte 60 km² valuable nature
The park covers an area of around 450 km2, is 47 km long and up to 8.5 km wide. It accommodates more than 60 km2 of wonderfully diverse nature, 47 kilometres of beach, picturesque villages and towns, breath-taking bulb fields, stately parklands and numerous interesting museums and historic buildings. What makes the park particularly special is how it connects all the different elements.
In the peaceful natural surroundings of Hollandse Duinen National Park, you can find rapid respite from busy city life. It is a short 8-minute walk from Central Station to the woodlands of The Hague Forest.
In the peaceful natural surroundings of Hollandse Duinen National Park, you can find rapid respite from busy city life. It is a short 8-minute walk from Central Station to the woodlands of Haagse Bos. Hollandse Duinen is home to fourteen villages and towns, where more than one million people live and work. For them, nature is always close to hand. With a bit of luck, you will see foxes, deer and seals, right at the heart of the most densely populated area of the Netherlands. In combination with historic heritage, cultural landscape and art, this makes Hollandse Duinen National Park amazingly diverse.
The park also provides a strong coastal defence, excellent drinking water, a cool environment in hot summers and, importantly, biodiversity. Hollandse Duinen National Park is always changing and full of things to see and experience. You feel the interaction between people and nature and see the result of our ancient battle against and new connectedness with water.
The park also provides a strong coastal defence, excellent drinking water, a cool environment in hot summers and, importantly, biodiversity. Hollandse Duinen National Park is always changing and full of things to see and experience. You feel the interaction between people and nature and see the result of our ancient battle against and new connectedness with water
One type of landscape gently merges into another and the National Park has no strict boundaries. The park extends via Haagse Bos almost to The Hague Central Station while the buildings of Scheveningen provide a break in the rolling dune landscape. Orderly bulb fields border whimsical lakes. This compact diversity is the essence of Hollandse Duinen.
Flora and fauna
The dunes and other natural areas form the heart of Hollandse Duinen National Park. The open spaces, extensive biodiversity and spectacular landscape give the National Park its identity. Hollandse Duinen National Park is the largest continuous nature reserve in Zuid Holland. The flora and fauna in the area is rich and unusual. In 2018, there were nearly 7,000 species of plants and animals, at least 14 of which had never been seen before in the Netherlands. How can an area at the heart of the Randstad conurbation have so many species? The number of species found here indicates the quality of the nature in Hollandse Duinen National Park and the wide variety of gradients - from sea to woodland, from salt water to fresh water and from dry to wet nature.
Parklands and country houses
Culture lovers can enjoy the most beautiful parklands and country houses in Hollandse Duinen. These were built in the 17th and 18th century and are now green oases in this densely populated area. Some of the highlights: Clingendael Estate is one of the loveliest estates in the Netherlands. The history of this estate between The Hague and Wassenaar goes back centuries and that is clearly reflected in the nature and culture. The park was designed in English landscape style with beautiful buildings, gardens with impressive groups of trees and reflective water features.
Ancient allure on the outskirts of The Hague? At Ockenburgh Estate, you feel the history of bygone ages. A delightful area for strolling with the kids, taking the dog out for a walk, picnicking, cycling or jogging.
In Sorghvliet Park, you can enjoy the gorgeous landscape in French and English style and the majestic garden wall. Sorghvliet Park is part of the heritage of Jacob Cats (1577-1660).
Modern art hidden in the dunes
Lovers of modern art are also in for a treat in Hollandse Duinen National Park. Hidden in the dunes of Scheveningen is the Beelden aan Zee museum. This museum in the dunes is the only museum in the Netherlands which focuses exclusively on modern and contemporary sculpture from home and abroad. Kunstmuseum Den Haag is a modern palace for the arts. Step into a magical building, wander through amazing daylit galleries and discover that one artwork that touches your soul. Here you will find work by artists like Piet Mondriaan, Picasso and Francis Bacon! And then there's Panorama Mesdag: a cylindrical panoramic painting, around 14 metres high and 120 metres in circumference. Unique of its kind! The painting is one of the oldest 19th century panoramas in the world and presents a 360-degree view of the North Sea, the dunes, The Hague and Scheveningen.
The secrets of the dunes
Hollandse Duinen National Park is packed with history. People have lived, worked and spent their leisure time here for centuries. In the dunes, there are lots of traces which tell us how people once lived and worked. Here you will find bunkers, old farmlands, waterways, boundary markers, ramparts and water towers. These are often very much in evidence, such as traces of the Second World War: bunkers, now usually inhabited by bats, commemorative plaques and remains of tank walls which were once part of the Atlantikwall. One of the most important war memorials in the Netherlands is also in Hollandse Duinen National Park: Waalsdorpervlakte in the Meijendel dune area near Wassenaar/The Hague.
Fun and games
Hollandse Duinen National Park also offers great opportunities for relaxation and sport. Take cycling and walking, for example. There is a good range of routes, from short to challenging. Follow a trail run or mountain bike route over the sandy slopes of the dunes. Because of the diversity and differences in height, these are ideal for more serious training. And then there are the wonderful surfing spots. Surfing is more popular than ever on the coast of Hollandse Duinen National Park.
There is plenty of entertainment for kids in the park too. They can enjoy the Pompstationweg natural playground in The Hague, explore the Robin Hood play forest in Haagse Bos or learn about flora and fauna in Duincampus Meijendel.