Oct 7, 2009

De Hoge Veluwe National Park

De Hoge Veluwe National Park is one of the oldest and largest continuous nature reserves in all of the Netherlands. The park was founded in 1935, is about 13,590 acres in size, and consists of heathland, sand dunes, woodlands, and lakes.

The park is roughly 50% woodland and 50% open land. The landscape is very dramatic, even more so with the dramatic light that the Netherlands are known for. Many artists were quick to capture the beauty of this light and immortalize it in their paintings, and for good reason, it is incredible.

Being a huge fan of color myself, it was a real treat to see all of the different tones and even the textures that the park had to show me. Over the course of my time here, I have visited this landscape three times, and find inspiration in it each time.

The self-seeding Scots Pine, Pinus sylvestris, is apparent everywhere here. It was noted that the pines grow outwards, instead of upwards here, due to excessive exposure to the strong winds that occur here.
While whizzing through one area on my bike, which the park provides for free(!), I saw a blur of yellow right next to the path and stopped to check it out.
This was blooming in my visit in July and I cannot i.d. this . Tofieldia sp.?Once again, my bike pulled me back to my surroundings, as the sun was pulled behind some clouds. There is a certain feeling one gets when in large open spaces that I love. Finally, my friend and I came across the beginning of the sand dunes. It seemed like a dark landscape to us, but its beauty was breathtaking none the less.
In an effort to expand the moving sand dunes, it looked as if some large trees were felled in the adjacent grassland.

Scots pine growing in the sand dune area.

My most recent visit, middle of September, had the landscape seem more alive since the heathland had come into bloom. I was very eager to come back to see this since I missed the opportunity in England.

Though the color of it was more subtle than imagined, but it still made its presence known in the landscape. Calluna vulgaris, grew in huge drifts of plant communities.

The Heather was not alive everywhere though, with large patches of dead areas. Still, the richness of nature kept me happy with its colorful tapestry.

This area, near a peat bog, revealed some small jewels if you looked hard enough.Such as this insect eating Sundew, Drosera rotundifolia. A tightly growing wood of Scots Pine.
Small clumps of Festuca ovina and

the low growing Sheepsbit Scabious,

Jasione montana which grows on dry grassy places and heaths.

While looking for plants most of the time, it was a great surprise to look up and see a herd of red deer on the outskirts of some of the woodlands.

My friends and I would always laugh at these signs we sometimes see. Though no wild roosters were seen, this place has exceptional beauty that I haven't seen much of anywhere else in the Netherlands. I have been there three times already and would love to continue to go back and explore at other times of the year... Oh, and the sign translates to "cattle grid skidding" which helps protect the animals by keeping them in this Dutch national park. No wild roosters, sorry.....


  1. Is the heather the same variety as in the UK? Fabulous photos.

  2. These photos of the Veluwe are very beautiful and remind me of my time in the Netherlands absolutley ages ago!