De Lange Bretten Natural Park - Amsterdam
Amsterdam residents have known this for a long time: there is plenty of wild nature to be found in the city. De Lange Bretten is an area that has about everything to offer in terms of nature in the Netherlands, covering an area outsizing the famous Vondelpark.
Its history started in 1631, when a canal was dug out to connect the cities of Haarlem and Amsterdam, cutting off the Spieringhornpolder and the Huis de Bretten polder from the IJ river bank. After land was reclaimed from the IJ bay, the strip of green that it created would later be used for parks, sports grounds and allotments. This was never accomplished, and instead the area came to be used for various construction projects, creating a new wilderness with an abundance of exceptional birds and plants amidst flat buildings, port grounds and factories. It has given De Lange Bretten the reputation of Amsterdam’s last urban wilderness.
An unkempt yet stroll-worthy piece of nature, with unruly woodlands, mysterious trails, open fields and pools. Have a safari and spot hawks, ermines, kingfishers, bats, foxes or water shrews.