Hidden deep in the heart of the Netherlands lies the Weerribben-Wieden National Park, an enchanting piece of nature that stimulates the senses and offers an oasis of peace for nature lovers. This national park, founded in 1992, extends across the provinces of Overijssel and Flevoland and is truly a jewel in the Dutch landscape. Many people enjoy  Weerribben-Wieden. Especially during summer, when they explore it by walking, cycling or sailing.

Visit de Weerribben 

About de Weerribben

Location and size Weerribben-Wieden

Giant fire butterfly
Giant fire butterfly

Weerribben-Wieden covers an extensive area of more than 100 square kilometers, making it the largest contiguous low peat swamp in northwest Europe. Located between the atmospheric provincial capital Zwolle and the edges of the former IJsselmeer, this park offers an unspoilt and varied environment that attracts both nature lovers and adventurers.

Unique Flora and Fauna

What makes this national park truly unique is the abundance of diverse flora and fauna. From vast reed fields and lush swamps to reflective lakes and winding waterways. The diversity of ecosystems creates a home for a remarkable range of plants and animals, such as the giant fire butterfly found nowhere else in the world. But you will also find a wide variety of breeding birds, such as the purple heron, the great reed warbler, the bittern and the marsh harrier. The waters are home to a wealth of fish species and amphibians and insects thrive beneath the surface.

You will be amazed

Hikers, cyclists and water enthusiasts are invited to explore the beauty of this ecosystem, where every bend in the path promises new discoveries. Weerribben-Wieden National Park is not just a series of natural beauty, but rather a lively tableau where the interaction between flora and fauna tells a story of harmony and coexistence. The park is therefore not only a breathtaking destination for nature lovers, but also a crucial link in the conservation of biodiversity in the Netherlands.

What to do in de Weerribben?

Ready for an unforgettable experience?

Discover the Weerribben in a whisper boat
Discover the Weerribben in a whisper boat

Weerribben-Wieden National Park offers an extensive range of activities that give visitors the chance to experience the pristine beauty of the park in different ways. Whether you prefer a peaceful exploration on foot, a relaxing bike ride along the water or an adventurous boat trip, Weerribben-Wieden National Park invites you to a wide range of activities that strengthen the connection with nature and offer an unforgettable experience in the heart of the Netherlands. Here some inspiration:

  • For hiking enthusiasts, there are countless routes, allowing you to experience the natural beauty up close and at your own pace.
  • There are also numerous routes for cyclists to follow via the knot system. Kilometers of cycle paths run along and through the park and past winding dikes and characteristic villages. Exploring the park on the water
  • For those who prefer to explore the water, the park offers many options for boat trips and canoeing adventures. Renting a whisper boat or a sloop for a day or part of a day is one of the most popular activities. Gliding along the winding waterways, visitors can absorb the serene atmosphere while witnessing the lush flora and fauna flourishing along the banks.
  • Bird watchers will delight in the diverse avifauna, ranging from (white) storks to colorful kingfishers that nest in the reeds.
  • Excursions: The park also offers space for educational activities, such as nature excursions by volunteers and the rangers of Natuurmonumenten and thematic workshops, giving visitors the opportunity to learn more about the unique ecosystems and the importance of nature conservation.
    Whether you prefer a peaceful exploration on foot, a relaxing bike ride along the water or an adventurous boat trip, Weerribben-Wieden National Park invites you to a wide range of activities that strengthen the connection with nature and offer an unforgettable experience in the heart of the Netherlands.
  • The Weerribben-Wieden National Park Visitor Center plays a crucial role as an information hub and starting point for visitors who want to explore the beautiful natural environment.

Visitor Center Weerribben-Wieden

  • Location: The Weerribben-Wieden visitor center is strategically located at Beulakerpad 1 in Sint Jansklooster. Please note: until April 2024 the center will be closed due to renovation work. The decking and boot path and the play area are still accessible. This also applies to the water tower on Saturday.
  • Information provision: The center provides extensive information about the national park, including maps, brochures and details of the various activities that can be undertaken in the area. Visitors can go here for up-to-date information about events, routes and nature observations. For example, you will find various walking and cycling routes on the website.
  • Educational Exhibitions: Often the visitor center houses educational exhibitions and displays that highlight the ecology, flora, fauna and history of Weerribben-Wieden National Park. These exhibits are intended to make visitors aware of the unique features of the area and the importance of nature conservation.
  • Excursion options: The visitor center can function as a starting point for organized excursions and tours through the park. For example, walking or boat trips can be organized under the guidance of experienced guides who provide insight into the biodiversity and history of the area. For tourists who want to explore Weerribben-Wieden National Park, there is the visitor center a valuable source of information. So definitely pay it a visit.

What to do in the Weerribben area?

  • The gondola rides from Dwarsgracht, Belt Schutsloot or Giethoorn are really worth it.
  • Visit the Koloniën van Weldadigheid, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2021. See more about The Colonies of Benevolence further down this website
  • Visit the braiding museum in Noordwolde. This is also a very nice museum to visit with children. Check the website for opening hours.
  • Take a look at the Valse Kunst museum in Vledder. This unique museum has been around for 25 years and shows a lot of beautiful art with a story. And they are all counterfeit. The museum also has a room with contemporary glass art. You can buy glass objects and glass jewelry in the museum shop.
  • Visit the De Proefkolonie museum in Frederiksoord. In this beautiful museum you can experience the history of The Colonies of Waldadigheid. In the museum you travel through time through 3 rooms. This experience starts every 20 minutes.
  • Visit Spinnekopmolen de Wicher. Staatsbosbeheer organizes excursions during which the miller gives a demonstration.

Active in Weerribben area

Fietsen in de Weerribben


One of the ways to discover the Weerribben and surrounding area is by bicycle. With kilometers of cycle paths you can enjoy cycling in the Weerribben-Wieden, through the greenery, along waters and over bridges. You can download a very nice cycling route in the area via cycling network nl. The Weerribben can be used as a starting point, but of course also as an intermediate point for your cycling route. If you do not have your own bicycle, you can rent one at a bicycle rental point in Kalenberg, Ossenzijl or Dwarsgracht.

SUP in the Weerribben


Exploring the Weerribben on a SUP board. If you are curious, just try it! Unlike other board sports, where you spend a lot of time practicing, SUPing is quick to learn and easy to do, without having to follow a long instruction or course. Once you are paddling and get the hang of it, you can explore the beautiful surroundings of the Weerribben-Wieden National Park. Because you are standing you can look over the reeds and you have a beautiful view.

Canoeing in de Weerribben


Would you like to burn calories for a day? How about a day of canoeing in the Weerribben? In our opinion, it is the best activity in the Weerribben. In the National Park, the largest contiguous peat bog in Northwestern Europe. In this National Park you will discover a wide variety of flora and fauna. You can find cool canoe routes on the website kanoroutes.nl. You can rent a canoe at Café restaurant de Weerribben. Book by telephone on 0561-477243


Ice-skating in de Weerribben


Skating in the Weerribben. It will take some getting used to seeing all those skaters on the ice, instead of all those boats that are rented out in the summer. The landscape, sometimes even accompanied by snow, has completely changed during an ice skating trip. Be careful not to hit your head on a bridge. In the surrounding villages such as Giethoorn, which is known for its many bridges, you must be extra careful. Don't forget to pack yourself well. Your gloves and hat will be essential.

Weerribben boat rental

Sail a boat

If you want to come sailing in the Weerribben, you can always rent a boat on site. Especially if you come outside the often busier weekends and children's holidays. It is still relatively quiet in de Weerribben. This is not a guarantee. Reserving a boat is normally, but not necessary. However, it is possible that with nice weather, even during these so-called quieter periods, it can become quite busy. We therefore recommend everyone to reserve a boat in advance.

Boat trips in Weerribben

Boat trips Kalenberg
Pieter Jongschaap boat tour company

From Kalenberg they provide various day or afternoon trips through Northwest Overijssel, an area that is mainly known for flora and fauna. This area has an extensive waterway network and many sailing routes. They are happy to introduce new visitors to this versatile nature reserve. They sail around with a tour boat with a capacity of 100 people.

Boat tour Ossenzijl
Boat tour company Tiemen Vaartjes

At Tiemen Vaartjes from Ossenzijl you can also board a cruise on a specially built flat-bottomed tour boat. Straight through the reed fields and swamp forests of the Weerribben. When the weather is nice they will take you around in an open boat, when the weather is less nice the boat is closed. This means you are always dry. From Ossenzijl a circuit is sailed via Kalenberg.

Tour boat Sylvia

The Sylvia goes to places where similar or larger tour boats are not allowed or cannot go and sails straight through the reedlands, meadows and swamp forests. They sail from early March to mid-December. Reservations can be made via 06-53784651

Boat trips Dwarsgracht
Guided Cruise through the Weerribben

At Restaurant / boat rental De Otterskooi you can also board a tour in a tour boat. This cruise goes through the Weerribben. These tour boats are sailed by skilled skippers, who also have a lot to say about the origins of this peat area and its nature. You can also board one from Giethoorn and then sail back to Giethoorn via Dwarsgracht.

De Otterskooi
  • Tour boat (max 40 people)

Villages around de weerribben

Within the Weerribben-Wieden National Park there are several picturesque villages that contribute to the charm and authenticity of the area. Some of the most important villages within the borders of Weerribben-Wieden are:

  • Giethoorn: Also known as the "Venice

    Sailing through the Weerribben
    Sailing through the Weerribben

    of the North", Giethoorn is famous for its waterways, bridges and traditional thatched farmhouses. It is an idyllic village often visited for its unique atmosphere and canals.

  • Sint Jansklooster: This village is located on the edge of the national park and provides a gateway to its natural splendor
    van Weerribben-Wieden. Here visitors often find information centers and starting points for various activities in the park.
  • Blokzijl: Blokzijl is a historic town with an attractive harbor and well-preserved architecture. It is located on the southern edge of the park and is known for its maritime history.
  • Kalenberg: Set amid the lush landscape of Weerribben-Wieden, this small village offers a peaceful escape to visitors seeking the serene beauty of the marshland.
  • Ossenzijl: Located on the edge of the national park, close to the visitor centre, Ossenzijl is a base for exploration and provides access to walking and cycling routes.

These villages contribute to the unique atmosphere of Weerribben-Wieden National Park and offer visitors the opportunity to experience not only the natural beauty, but also the local culture and history during their stay in the area.

 Spend the night in de Weerribben

No big hotels or tons of campsites

Don't expect large hotels or lots of camping here. You won't find that in the Weerribben, but there are plenty of nice B&Bs, apartments and houses to rent. Or how about renting a houseboat? The weather ribs are ideally suited for people who want to seek peace and quiet, hear the birds chirping and enjoy nature. Here you can completely relax. Overnight accommodation is still in its infancy here. Here you will find accommodation options in and around Giethoorn as an alternative.

Hotels Giethoorn

D'Olde Smidse

Hotel Giethoorn

Hotel de Harmonie 

Dames van de Jonge

Hotel/restaurant de Pergola

Hotel/restaurant de Kruumte

Holiday parks

Resort Venetie

Residence de Eese

Waterpark Giethoorn

Waterresort Bodelaeke

Vakantiepark Giethoorn

Kroondomein Giethoorn

Campings Giethoorn

De Sloothaak

Resort Venetie

Camping D'hof

Camping de Stouwe

Camperplaats Bodelaeke

Camperplaats Haamstede

Group accommodations

Smit Giethoorn

Het Kraggehuis

Mooi Oldemarkt

Residence de Eese

Hostel The Black Sheep

Landhuis de Eikenhorst

Restaurants in de Weerribben

Eating out in de Weerribben

Restaurants are well represented in the Weerribben. Most restaurants focus on Dutch visitors. However, there are also restaurants that specifically cater to foreign tourists, such as some restaurants in Giethoorn. Conclusion, too many flavors.


Café van Ens

De Halte

Prins Mauritshuis



De Eetkamer

De Witte Hoeve


Henry Willig


Café de Weerribben

Het Doevehuis

Het Rietershuijs

Pieter Jongschaap


De Kluft

Drie Musketiers




Café de Sluus

Bij Frank

De Blizzard

't Kraantje

Parking Weerribben

We cannot indicate a specific parking space as the best, largest or most central parking space for the Weerribben. We have listed the parking spaces for you and organized them per location.

Parking Dwarsgracht

Parking your car in Dwarsgracht is fairly easy. Most B&B houses have a parking space at the house. Visitors to the Otterskooi can park in the spacious parking lot behind the Otterskooi. If you rent a boat from Henk Petter from Petter boat rental, you can park on site. Parking in Dwarsgracht is free.

Parking Blokzijl

There is very little space to park in the center of Blokzijl. We recommend that you use the (free) parking lots on the edge of the old city center.

  • If you come from Steenwijk or Emmeloord, you can follow the signs for Blokzijl P. These signs will take you to the large parking lot along Kanaalweg.
  • If you are coming from the Vollenhove side, you can navigate to the Burgemeester van Ommerenweg when entering Blokzijl. You can park here in the parking lot.
Parking Ossenzijl

Parking your car in Ossenzijl is not always easy. The largest parking lot in the village has approximately 55 parking spaces. Please note that in summer there are not enough parking spaces for everyone. Navigate to the Hilligerspoortweg to reach this parking lot. This parking lot is located opposite Buurtsuper Braad. You can also park at boat rental companies or restaurants, but the number of parking spaces is often not sufficient for everyone.

Parking Kalenberg

Parking your car in Kalenberg is not that easy. Especially during summer days, there are often not enough parking spaces for all tourists. The largest parking lot in the village has approximately 75 parking spaces. Navigate to Berkenlaan 12 to reach this parking lot. This parking lot is located opposite Bij Joop. You can also park at the boat rental companies, but the number of parking spaces is often not sufficient for everyone.

Parking Giethoorn

Parking your car in Giethoorn is very easy most days. There are enough parking spaces for quiet days. Navigate to Kerkweg 35 and park your car there. However, finding a parking spot during summer days will be quite a task, especially if you arrive in Giethoorn later in the afternoon. On parking in Giethoorn you will find all parking spaces in Giethoorn.

National Park Weerribben-Wieden

Why you should go to de Weerribben?

You might just encounter a stork here
You might just encounter a stork here

If you stay in de Weerribben or the surrounding area, you will of course go to Weerribben-Wieden National Park. Weerribben-Wieden National Park is a vast nature reserve located in the provinces of Overijssel and Flevoland. The park is known for its unique swamp landscape, waterways, reed fields, lakes and extensive meadows. Below you will find the features and highlights of the Weerribben-Wieden National Park:

  • Swamp and Reed Lands: The park is home to the largest contiguous low peat swamp in Northwest Europe. The extensive reedlands are of great ecological importance and provide a home to various plant and animal species.
  • Waterways and Lakes: The park is crossed by numerous waterways, canals and lakes. These are ideal for boat trips, canoeing and sailing. It is possible to explore the beautiful surroundings by boat and enjoy the peace and nature.
    Flora and Fauna: In Weerribben-Wieden National Park you will find a rich variety of plants and animals. Bird watchers can spot various species of water birds here, such as bitterns and reed warblers.
  • Hiking and Biking Trails: The park offers a network of hiking and biking trails that allow visitors to explore nature on the mainland. There are several viewpoints and observation huts where you can admire nature.
  • Giethoorn: Part of the Weerribben-Wieden National Park includes the famous village of Giethoorn, also known as the "Venice of the North; the village is known for its characteristic canals, bridges and thatched farms. It is a tourist attraction and can be The summer can be very busy, but if you rent a boat and go out on the water, you can often enjoy nature in peace.
  • Visitor Centers: There are several visitor centers in the park, such as the De Wieden Visitor Center, where visitors can get information about the area, view exhibits and plan activities.
  • Activities and Excursions: In addition to walking, cycling and boating, organized excursions and activities are also regularly offered, including boat trips with guides and bird watching excursions.


Villages nearby de Weerribben

Scroll to Top