On the lookout for deer in Zuid Kennemerland

On our two day trip to the beach, we had seen the flower fields, picnicked on the beach and seen a bit of Zandvoort, or Amsterdam Beach. Before driving home, we wanted to have one last stop. Earlier this year we had visited the Amsterdamse waterleidingduinen and seen tons of deer and now we found ourselves in the same area. Instead of visiting the same place, however, we opted for another national park, namely: Zuid Kennemerland.

The national park lies 40 minutes from Amsterdam and according to the website, houses deer and foxes, just like the other park we went to, but also Scottish Highlanders and European bisons. We were excited to see them.

Unfortunately, we didn’t find any. Nor deer, for that matter. In the Amsterdamse waterleidingduinen, only hikers were allowed, and of course there were too many people who talked too loudly and scared the deer, but it was easy enough to walk further into the park and away from them. But in this park, Zuid Kennemerland, cyclists were allowed. And of course, I get that it’s a beautiful area to cycle in, but you won’t see any deer or other animals that way. And we didn’t.

There was supposed to be a lookout for the bisons but we couldn’t find any sign of it, so instead we followed the path that was marked with a little fox icon, hoping it would guide us into the direction of foxes. We just kept walking in circles, but frustratingly enough, the paved road seemed to always be around the corner. Even when we abandoned the fox-route, and went through a gate that said ‘playtime over’, meaning that we had to keep quiet, we eventually came across a bicycle lane again. We walked around for a couple of hours but after seeing this tree for the fourth time, we decided to call it a day. That’s also when it started raining.

The park really has some beautiful scenery, with dunes and a lake and if you just want to hike in nature, it’s a good enough spot to visit. If you want to see deer, however, I’d definitely recommend the other park, the Amsterdamse waterleidingduinen. There were so many deer there that you can’t miss them.

Deer in Amsterdam

Hey guys! How are you doing? I hope you all had a great easter! I didn’t do that much, besides visiting my sister and start spring-cleaning. Last week, I was once again tired of lockdown and bored out of my mind, so we looked for some fun things to do. A friend recommended a visit to the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen, which I’ll roughly translate to Amsterdam Dunes. I seriously never even knew there were dunes so close to Amsterdam, let alone a nature reserve filled with deer! But there were, so the choice to visit was easily made. We bought our tickets (that only cost a few euro’s) online and next morning, we drove to Amsterdam!

There are multiple entrances but we drove to the Vogelenzangseduinweg (birdsong-dune-road) because that was what our friend recommended. To give you a rough idea, we drove through a couple of Dutch cities such as Heemstede and Haarlem, that are also well worth a visit. The dunes are actually part of Amsterdam, and by car it will only take you half an hour/40 minutes to get from city center to the parking lot. So if you’re visiting Amsterdam and you are getting tired of the bustling cities and being run over by bicycles, grab a car, bike or train and visit these dunes!

The dunes are the first thing you see upon entering. And though it is just heaps of sand with the sea nowhere in sight, it’s still pretty cool. Running over the hills, rolling off of them, it can be a lot of fun.

The name is a little bit misleading, however, since there is so much more than just dunes. Behind the dunes is an enormous nature reserve, about 34 square kilometers and it’s filled with wildlife. We had seen loads of pictures of deer and foxes so naturally we were hoping to see them.

And we did! They’re actually hard to miss, because there truly are a lot of them. We first saw a couple in the distance, but they were behind a fence. Then, when walking further, a group of maybe 15 deer stood on our side of the fence, and we just stood there and looked at them, until something scared them and they came running. They ran over the path we were walking on, ducked to be able to go underneath the gates and then they were in the no-humans-allowed zone. We could still see them, but the fence was there for their protection. So we left them in peace, hoping we would find some more deer to properly photograph.

Besides deer, there were also numerous birds to be heard. It was wonderful to hear them all singing, especially when the rest of the forest was quiet.

We didn’t have to wait long to see more deer. Whenever we saw them in the distance, we sneaked and walked slowly, camera in hand, to try and take good pictures of them. Sometimes we got close, but they always noticed us (or other visitors who were completely ignorant and talked loudly in the forest, scaring the deer, and causing them to run farther and farther away) and got away quickly. It was a lot of fun and we did manage to get some amazing pictures and a couple of videos.

There are so many deer living in the woods that it’s not all that good for the forest and the grass. They eat everything and there were parts of the forest that looked like a wasteland, because the deer had eaten every bit of grass they could find. Because of this, the township of Amsterdam has decided to regulate the number of deer. It makes me sad. Of course, I can see that there are too many deer in these areas and that it’s bad for the growth and the environment, but the fact is that if we humans didn’t need so many new roads, houses, bigger cities and factories, that the deer would have bigger areas to live in and then there wouldn’t be so many problems.

It was interesting to see these wastes. I’ve heard the stories about deer eating everything and ‘having to be regulated’ but never actually saw the damage.

We stayed in the forest for quite a bit so eventually it was time to have lunch. And what better place to have lunch than in a tree? There were so many trees with branches that were just asking to be climbed, and we happily obliged. We saw no exotic animals while we ate, though we did see a group of joggers that did some exercises close to us. Pretty sure they hadn’t seen us, but it was a funny sight for us.

After that, we thought it was time to go home. We wanted to give the deer some rest, because we had followed them for quite some time, so we decided to go another way back to our car, still fingers crossed that we would see a fox. We didn’t, unfortunately, but I just see that as a reason to come back one day.

We had such a lovely day. The sun was shining and seeing the deer in their own environment was really special. The forest and the dunes were also really beautiful and we had an amazing time. I certainly will come back here again.