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I’m going to tell you a little secret: you don’t have to visit the Zoo’s in Holland to see flamingo’s. We have wild flamingo’s. Yes, you read that right. The Netherlands has wild flamingo’s and it is such a fun adventure to find them. This is where you can find wild flamingo’s in the Netherlands!
I only heard about the wild flamingo’s about three years ago. In my junior year of college, I moved back home and my parents moved to the south of the Netherlands in the region called Noord-Brabant. We live extremely close to Zeeland, almost on the “border” of these two regions. I was stunned when I heard about the wild flamingo’s. As everyone knows, the Netherlands is quite cold and gloomy and to be fair, not the place where you would expect wild flamingo’s.
Where to find wild flamingo’s in the Netherlands
You’re going to find the wild flamingo’s in the region Zuid-Holland. This is a region with lots small villages and bigger cities including lots of water on the south side. In all, Zuid-Holland is a gorgeous place to visit if you ever decide to visit the Netherlands
Why did the flamingo’s settle in the Netherlands?
The flamingo’s are only in the Netherlands during our winter months. They locate at the same spot every year! The flamingo’s here are small Chilean and Caribbean flamingo’s and in general, flamingo’s like the cold.
The birds arrive in the Grevelingenmeer in October after they leave Germany. This group is located in the Zwillbrocker Venn in Germany which is just over the boarder from the Netherlands. They fly to the Grevelingenmeer in October for one reason: the type of water. The water in the Zwillbrocker Venn is fresh water which will freeze in the winter. The water in the Grevelingenmeer is salt water which won’t freeze.
Read more: The 7 Dutch Culture Facts You Need To Know!
Where can you spot the flamingo’s?
I’ll tell you the spot where I spotted the flamingo’s. Rumour has it that the Netherlands has even more places to spot flamingo’s so I will share them at the end of this blogpost. Please know that I haven’t been to those places myself, so I can’t guarantee you’re going to see them. However, it might be a spot closer to where you’re staying and might be worth checking out. They are all in a gorgeous nature area so it won’t be lost time.
As I mentioned, the wild flamingo’s in the Grevelingenmeer are located in the region called Zuid-Holland. This is a region on the west coast of the Netherlands that has big cities like Rotterdam and The Hague. It has the top island of the 3 small islands as well. The other two islands are located in the region Zeeland.
The island where you’ll find the flamingo’s is called Goeree-Overflakkee. This is a region known for the sustainability purposes: it has a lot of windmills and they’re working hard in becoming more sustainable every day. It got called one of the most sustainable places on earth!
The small villages where you’re going to find them is called Battenoord. Are you already loving the Dutch names of our lakes, regions and villages? Battenoord is located on the south of the island Goeree-Overflakkee.
How do you get to this place?
It totally depends where you’re driving from, but in general: the best way to visit Battenoord is by car. Take the N57 from Rotterdam if you want to take a more scenic route and this one might be a shorter drive as well, depending on the traffic. If you are coming from any other region: take a route to the A29 and go over the first bridge over the Haringvliet. There are two bridges going over the Haringvliet, a river, and you want to take the exit on the middle of the bridges: the N59. Take this road in the direction of Oude-Tonge to Nieuwe-Tonge until you see the signs of Battenoord.
Honestly, Google Maps is your best friend here! You need to go to the harbour of Battenoord and park your car in the small parking area. The address is: Battenoord 1, 3244 LB Nieuwe-Tonge
Stand with your back to the water side. You need to walk on the dike of your left. This one leads AWAY from the camping side called “Camping de Grevelingen”. The dike is long and you need to walk on top of it, the lower part of the dike is for the bikers. Don’t get run over lol. You’d know where to go once you’re there. If you stand with your back to the water, you’ll see there isn’t any dike on the right side of you. Left it is.
If you’re lucky and have good eyes, you’re already able to spot some pink-ish tones in the water. It’s a 10-15 minute walk to the spot where you’ll see the flamingo’s the closest. They are located right next to the windmills. Enjoy them, take a few photos and look at the view.
DON’T do this at the spot
There are two big rules if you’re coming here. Please keep in mind these are wild animals and that we need to leave them alone at all times.
If you’re taking a dog, it is forbidden to let them walk without a leash. You need to have your dog on a leash because wild running dogs will terrify the flamingo’s. This has happened in the past and the rule is to have your dog on a leash at all times. Even though they seem to be far away – they have really good eyes and see it as a threat coming at them.
The second rule is: no drones. Once again, the drones terrify the flamingo’s. I know people who own drones, neglect the rules and fly the drones anyway. That’s absolutely unacceptable at this spot. The animals are absolutely terrified of this unknown thing flying close to them with a high pitched sound.
Remember what I said if you’re thinking of doing this: they are wild animals and we need to leave them alone. Observe them from a distance and don’t bother them in ANY WAY. If you can’t follow the rules – don’t bother coming here!
The flamingo’s are only here during the winter and even though we’re not known for snowfalls and all that pretty stuff. There’s one thing here. That’s always here. We all hate it. That’s wind. I swear we have a lot of wind almost every single day.
Because you’re walking on a dike, next to the water, above all other land, with windmills next to you: there is a lot of wind. Our winters aren’t very cold, but temperatures drop to 3-9 degrees Celsius pretty quickly. It can feel really cold if you combine the temperatures with the wind.
Definitely wear something warm. Wear a scarf, a beanie and a nice jacket to keep yourself warm.
You need to know one thing if you’re coming here to take pictures. The flamingo’s are pretty far away and not the easiest to catch on camera. The pictures in this blogpost were made with a 50-210mm lens and this lens is not “good enough”. If you want to get them closer, you need a better lens like a zoom lens!
Read more: 5 Dutch Cities To Visit Besides Amsterdam
Other areas to spot wild flamingo’s in the Netherlands
As I said, I’ve read that you’re able to spot flamingo’s at other areas in the Netherlands as well. I’ve never been here, so I can’t guarantee you’ll see them. If I had to advice one spot to see them: it’s the one in this blogpost.
However, if you’re close to these areas: the nature is gorgeous and it’s a nice place for a walk. I know for a fact, and you do to if you read this blogpost, that the first one is another guarantee. Here are the other areas to see wild flamingo’s as well:
- Watch the flamingo’s from the viewing hut in region Gelderland over the Zwillbrocker Venn. You read this spot before: this is where the same group of flamingo’s stays during the summer time!
- This is a view point on the Grevelingenmeer from another place. The dike from the Volkerakmeer and the Krammersche Slikken near Oude-Tongen in the region Zuid-Holland. This is the exact same group of flamingo’s!
- The dike that overlooks the Kinselmeer in the region Noord-Holland. This is the region that has our capital Amsterdam.
- The dike near Elburg with a view over the Veluwemeer in the region Friesland. A region in the north of the Netherlands.
- The parking spot called “De Hege Gerzen” in Steile bank in the region Friesland.
- The Lauwersmeer in the regions Groningen and/or Friesland. These are two regions next to each other in the north of the Netherlands!
I hope this blogpost gave a new special view on the Netherlands because you now know we have flamingo’s!! It’s not just windmills, water and wooden clogs lol. The Netherlands is such a nice country with many hidden gems and sides. If you’re ever visiting my small little country during the year: visit these spots. Even if you’re here in the summer, you can still watch the flamingo’s in the Zwillbrocker Venn in Gelderland. Gelderland is our region next to Germany.
Did you know that the Netherlands has wild flamingo’s?