Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen, also known as The Splendid Dunes, is a special dune area that spans between Zandvoort and Langevelderslag. These dunes supply drinking water for the city of Amsterdam. More than 50 million cubic meters of drinking water flow through the dunes, which encompass 3,400 hectares. This is the oldest water extraction site in the Netherlands and has been in use since 1853.
Before the water supply dunes, the people of Amsterdam got their drinking water from the nearby canals. Unfortunately, this was also the same place that the town’s rubbish was dumped. Only those who were rich were able to afford clean drinking water, which was imported daily from the Vecht river.
A Protected Nature Reserve
The dunes in the area are considered a protected nature reserve by The European Commission. Cars are not allowed in this area so that the environment can be as natural and tranquil as possible. Hiking is a popular activity here and there are plenty of paths that take hikers through the dunes. In fact, Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen is home to the largest contiguous hiking trail in the country. Excursions are led by the forester and are open to the public.
During your stay at Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen, you are sure to encounter plenty of furry creatures and other animals. It is not uncommon to see foxes and deer frolicking through the forest. In fact, the dunes are home to the largest population of deer per hectare in the Netherlands, with approximately 2,000 deer per 0.6 hectare. Sand lizards, wild cows and birds can also be seen throughout the year. Be on the lookout for goats that travel along the hiking trails.
There are four main entrances in Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen:
- Panneland in Vogelenzang
- The Oasis in Vogelenzang
- De Zilk in De Zilk
- Zandvoortselaan in Zandvoort
A visitor center is located near the restored pumping station in the Oasis entrance. Here, you can learn all about the dunes. The visitor center is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10AM until 5PM.
Near the Panneland entrance is a coffee stand and guests will find a restaurant near the Zandvoortselaan entrance.
Dogs are not allowed in the park. Mopeds and bicycles are also not permitted. A day ticket costs € 1.50, while a year ticket costs € 10. Parking is available at each of the four main entrances and costs just € 2 for one day, or € 35 for the entire year. Many bus routes run between the railway station and one of the four main entrances to the dunes.