Wetland area becomes largest national park

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National parks de Weerribben and de Wieden join to form the largest national park.

Overijssel—De Weerribben National Park is to be extended. The internationally significant wetland area is to be combined with the adjoining De Wieden nature reserve to form the Netherlands' largest national park, covering an area of 10,000 hectares.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Nature has announced it is to make a three million euro contribution to the park's upkeep. The park is the most important marshland area in north-west Europe.

The area was extensively dredged in preparation for the re-introduction of the Otter in 2002, a species that had disappeared from the area by 1990. It is also an important habitat for many varieties of insects, birds and other wildlife including foxes, deer and bats.

Through the process of peat excavation both the Weerribben and the Wieden were gradually formed over several hundred years. Historically, it was also an important area for reed farming.

Established as a national park in 1922, De Weerribben lies in the east of the country, in the north of the province of Overijssel. During last month's freezing weather the park experienced a flood of over 100,000 visitors, as the extensive frozen wetland provided an idyllic landscape for skating.

In the warmer months it’s a pleasant recreation spot for nature lovers. Boating, camping, walking, and biking are popular activities. It’s also a serene spot for a swim, or for dragonfly sightings in a canoe or flatbottom boat.

Radio Netherlands/Lila Lundquist/Expatica

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