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A city ringed by nature


The city of Amsterdam is surprisingly surrounded by beautiful countryside and nature. After breakfast on the Dam Square, it will take only 30 minutes to reach the birding area of De Ronde Hoep, the peat bogs of Ilperveld, the country estate woods of Leyduin or the defence line fortifications of Amsterdam.

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Dutchphoto (rechtenvrij)
Nature Around 02 Stelling Amsterdam 02
A.J. van Mossel

Amsterdam’s Defence Line

Cycling along a city wall of water

Forts, moats and dikes: Amsterdam is surrounded by a 135-kilometre ring of former fortifications known as the Defence Line of Amsterdam. Numerous biking, walking and boating routes run through this area. Covered in flowers and plants, the dikes are perfect for a bike tour. You can also paddle a canoe past forts and pumping stations. The moats are home to an abundance of waterfowl and the forts attract butterflies and birds. 

Although surrounded by nature, many of the fort structures have been redeveloped. Relax in the saunas of Fort Resort Beemster or visit the Aerial Warfare Museum housed in the Fort near Veldhuis. 

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Teeuwisse, Jos
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Buitenplaats Leyduin

A walk through a wealthy past

Impressive country estates, ancient lanes and a former racecourse: Buitenplaats Leyduin offers a beautiful combination of nature and history. There are three beautiful country estates in this large walking area. These estates were once the summer homes of wealthy merchants in the Golden Age. 

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Henk Veen

Today you can go for a walk, bike or visit the elegant Huis Leyduin. This wooded area is home to several species of deer and many birds, such as the Tawny Owl and the Great Spotted Woodpecker. An excursion with a forest ranger is also worthwhile as they usually know where to find these unique animals. 

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Wim Apswoude
Amsterdam Nature Bird


Cruising through the peat bog

Ilperveld is an extensive peat region just north of Amsterdam: a water paradise with strips of land, ditches and lakes. This nature reserve is home to many unique animals such as the root vole and countless marsh and meadow birds. Look closely and you may spot the Great bittern – a heron that often hides among the reeds.

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Discover Ilperveld

 Ilperveld is great for a bike ride, but the best way to explore this region full of water is by canoe or boat. Moor at a reed field and, as you walk across these small islands of floating reeds, you’ll feel the ground rippling under your feet: a unique experience!

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Johan Stuart
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Onno Steendam

Ronde Hoep

Bird watching and ferry rides

Just south of Amsterdam is the largest undeveloped stretch of pasture land in the Netherlands: De Ronde Hoep. This classic Dutch landscape features picturesque farms, vast polders and historic drawbridges. In spring, the area is full of nesting birds such as godwits, curlews and skylarks.

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Jan Tuip

A popular attraction are the bird-watching safaris. You ride through the polder on a cart while a farmer entertains you with his stories. Another great way to explore the region is by bike, cycling along canals, ditches and polders. Along the way, there are several short ferry rides: the ultimate Dutch experience!

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