Oostvaardersplassen by train

Wild Konik horses (photo by Hans Veth)

Nature Reserve the Oostvaardersplassen is one of the most interesting as well one of the largest man-made nature reserves to be found in the Netherlands. But that’s just one of its features! You can cross this reserve by train and enjoy the magnificent views over the steppe like area. From your train seat you can spot large groups of red deer – that’s already one tick of your Dutch big five list – as well as wild Konik horses and Heck cattle. 

Nature designed by man

Located in the new land of Flevoland, between the towns of Almere and Lelystad, this reserve was “designed by man” after the land was reclaimed from the former Zuiderzee in 1968. Some areas in the new land had unfavourable soil conditions and were too wet for optimal agricultural production. Initially, greenhouses and industrial zones were planned in these areas. Luckily, these developments never happened. In 1975, a 3600 hectare large wetland reserve was created: the Oostvaardersplassen.   

Photo by Vincent van Zalinge

We were inspired to visit this Oostvaardersplassen after seeing the The New Wilderness documentary. The visitors centre just outside the town of Lelystad is a good place to start exploring the Oostvaardersplassen. You can do a 5km hike or join a guided tour – which is highly recommended, because you may access an area that is not open to the public.

But the fastest, if not the best, way to enjoy the Oostvaardersplassen is by train, especially when you want to combine it with a visit to other places. This trip takes exactly 4 minutes, so prepare your camera and sit on the left side of the train – coming from Almere. Every season, every day of the week and every single hour of the day the scene of “The New Wilderness” passing by will be different.

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