Hidden gem The National Park De Maasduinen.
The Netherlands has 21 national nature parks.
National Park De Maasduinen is unique because the longest river dune belt in the Netherlands is located in the area. These were created by an interplay of water, wind and people over the centuries. This has created a beautiful nature reserve.
De Maasduinen is managed by the Municipality of Bergen, Stichting het Limburgs Landschap, Staatsbosbeheer and private landowners. Together they ensure that the flora and fauna of De Maasduinen is protected and that you can continue to enjoy this unique nature.
The rivers have shaped the landscape as it is now, but the wind has largely completed the whole. In the last ice age, not only was the low terrace formed, but the wind had also been given free rein. This ice age had the characteristic that it was very cold and dry. There was then a strong westerly wind that carried sand from the west and deposited it on the east banks of the Meuse. This has created the typical river dunes, also known as Maasduinen. We can distinguish different types of river dunes, namely parabolic dunes and stripe dunes.
Parabolic dunes can be as high as 15 to 25 meters. You will regularly encounter these types of dunes throughout De Maasduinen.
Below are a number of High-Lights of the Maasduinen:
Voted the most beautiful lake in the Netherlands!
Because both the Rhine and the Meuse used to flow through the area, there is a lot of sand and gravel in the ground. This sand and gravel was extracted in the past in De Maasduinen. A remarkable sand and gravel extraction site is the Reinderslooi. From 1963 to 2001, millions of tons of sand and gravel were excavated. This created a large lake: the Reindersmeer.
Here are also hiking trails of 4 and 7 km. You can cross halfway with a self-operated pull pond, very nice to do. There are also plenty of wheelchair-friendly paths here.
The Visitors' Center De Maasduinen (Bosbrasserie de Sluis) is also unique. It is located between the Reindersmeer and Leukermeer in the old lock chamber. Here you can also relax with a snack and drink and get all the information about this area. There is also a nature playground, De Boskoel, for the children (see our website: activities).
Recommended walking route:
Reindersmeer in 7 or 4 km
An area with lots of heathland, fens and surrounded by dense forests. On top of the Afferden dunes is a watchtower with a magnificent view. This area is kept in check by the herds of sheep, goats and Scottish Highlanders.
Beautiful walk across the Duvelskuul heathland. The Duvelskuul is a group of fens in the extinct bowls of the river dunes of the Maas. The route also runs through the Bleijenbeek estate where the ruins of Bleijenbeek Castle are located.
Recommended walking routes:
River dunes route
Devil's Pit Trail
An almost entirely continuous complex of dry heathland, wet heathland and fens forms the impressive Landgoed De Hamert. The dry heathland is mainly located on the shifting dunes that occur naturally here, the parabolic dunes. Adjacent to the fens lies the wet heath. The months of August and September are, for many people, the period when the heather is at its most beautiful, because of the massive flowering heather, the heath species of the dry heath. Not entirely unjustified, but the heathland and fens also have a lot to offer beyond that. During a winter walk you may be surprised by a great gray shrike sitting in the top of a lonely birch or pine. In the spring and autumn you can enjoy the many hundreds of migratory birds that use the Heerenven from the bird hide.
Recommended walking route:
Estate De Hamert route
Photo: de Hamert
The beautiful Eendenmeer is located on the edge of Nieuw Bergen.
The area is surrounded by heathland and is a beautiful water-rich walking area, but largely unpaved with beautiful views in a few places. The geese and ducks also have a good time here.
During this tour you will become acquainted with both the new residential area and the nature reserve on the edge of the residential area. The walking tour goes through two nice parks in the residential area and through the nature reserve on the edge of the residential area around the Eendenmeer and over the Bergerheide. The last two are part of the National Park “De Maasduinen”. The Eendenmeer is a beautiful wetland area surrounded by heathland, with beautiful views in a number of places. The Bergerheide is a very varied area including the large Driessenven and a shifting sand area. 75% of this walking tour is unpaved.
Recommended walking route:
Ommetje The duck lake
Photo: het eendenmeer
Cultuurhistorisch rondje Afferden, Siebengewald en Bergen
De noordlus van Maasduinen
Dwars door Limburg - Etappe 1 van Mook naar Afferden
Dwars door Limburg - Etappe 2 van Afferden naar Blitterswijck
Afferden tussen grens en Maas
Maas-Niederrheinpad 3 - van Well naar De Hamert
Maas en Maasheggen route
Naar de Duuvelskuul, Afferden te Limburg
Landgoed de Hamert-tocht, Wellerlooi te Limburg
Ommetje Dikkenberg, Wellerlooi te Limburg
Ommetje Landgoed Bleijenbeek, Nieuw Bergen te Limburg
Ommetje Rode Hoek, Wellerlooi te Limburg
Naar de Wellsche Hut, Well te Limburg
Bergerheide-tocht, Well te Limburg
Bosserheide-tocht, Well te Limburg
Dorperheide-de kleine tocht, Wellerlooi te Limburg
Langs de Putjesberg, Wellerlooi te Limburg
Bleijenbeek-tocht, Nieuw-Bergen te Limburg
Maaskantpad etappe 1, Molenhoek te Limburg
Maaskantpad etappe 2, Gennep te Limburg
Maaskantpad etappe 3, Afferden te Limburg
Maaskantpad etappe 4, Nieuw Bergen te Limburg
Maaskantpad etappe 5, Well te Limburg
Zevenmorgenziep-tocht, Ottersum te Limburg
Esven-tocht, Afferden te Limburg
Vlammert-tocht, Bergen te Limburg
Maasduinen-tocht, Well te Limburg
Langs het Genneperhuis, Ottersum te Limburg
Dorperheide-tocht, Wellerlooi te Limburg
Langs Jan d’n Duvel, Well te Limburg
Stalberg-tocht, Wellerlooi te Limburg
Photo: het reindersmeer
In National Park De Maasduinen you can find a lot of flora and fauna. Some are very rare while others are common in the Netherlands. Below you will find an overview of the most rare animals and plants in De Maasduinen National Park.
This small snake species grows to a maximum length of 80 cm. In De Maasduinen National Park, the smooth snake can be found in a few places. Especially on heathlands there is a chance to encounter this animal.
In De Maasduinen, this rare lizard is mainly found in forest and heathland areas, such as on Landgoed de Hamert. The sand lizard is a small, solidly built lizard with a fairly thick tail.
A European crane is displayed in the logo of De Maasduinen National Park. These birds migrate over De Maasduinen in spring and autumn and then settle on one of the many fen complexes such as the Heerenven on Landgoed de Hamert. Here the birds rest before continuing their journey. With a lot of luck you will see them stall. They do this in formation just like geese. They make a clattering sound. Because it is very special that this bird visits our country and even rests in De Maasduinen, it was decided to include the animal in the logo of the national park. With a lot of luck you will see cranes in spring and/or autumn.
The nightjar is mainly active at dusk and at night. They then hunt fairly large flying insects. They have a good camouflage color that makes them almost unnoticeable during the day. During the day they mainly sit still on a branch or on the ground. This bird is very rare but occurs in De Maasduinen in a few places such as in the Bergerbos.
Buzzards can be found throughout the Maasduinen. To keep a good overview, they often sit in a high place. From there, they scan the area for possible prey. The buzzard is a lazy hunter. Only when he knows with great certainty that he can catch prey, will he dive for it.
De Maasduinen National Park is an important area for bats. Nine different types of these flying mammals have been found in the past. You can see them flying at dusk around the Bleijenbeek ruins in Afferden. A bat and nightjar tour is also organized every year to introduce a wider audience to these special nocturnal animals.
The beaver is very rare but occurs in more and more places in De Maasduinen. For example, he feels perfectly at home in the canal and ditches around the Bleijenbeek ruin and along the Geldernsch-Niers Canal. The beaver is a real rodent. It chews up to 300 to 4000 kilograms of wood a year to eat and to make dams. The beaver can grow up to a meter long and is therefore the largest rodent living in the Netherlands.
50 percent of the Dutch butterflies occur in the national park, or thirty-three species. Ten of these are linked to specific biotopes, nine are endangered or vulnerable (including heather blue and small kingfisher butterfly), six species have not been observed since 1982 (including heather gentian blue).
This oak is distributed throughout the Maasduinen. It grows on both nutrient-rich and nutrient-poor soils. An oak grows very well on nutrient-rich soils and can reach a height of 35 meters. The tree grows poorly on nutrient-poor soils and can take on very strange, twisting shapes.
There are many Scots pines scattered throughout De Maasduinen. These trees were previously planted to be used for mining in South Limburg. Pines are often confused with spruce. The difference between these two trees can be seen by the needles. A pine has its needles two by two, while those of a spruce are separate from each other.
This rare plant is on the red list and is very rare. In July to September the plant is in bloom and then has a size of 15-60 cm. In addition to its high natural value, this plant is also very important for the gentian blue, a butterfly species that lays its eggs on the unopened flowers.