For a country as small and as densely populated as the Netherlands, there are a surprising number of great places to camp.
Our favourite campgrounds are small and set in forest clearings or alongside rivers. When we’re tenting, we always look for a separate field (away from camper vans). Sometimes we also rent a yurt or cabin for the night.
Here are some of the best sources we’ve found for beautiful camping in the Netherlands.
Nature Campsites – Known as “natuurkampeerterreinen” in Dutch, these are campsites that do an excellent job of pairing facilities (hot showers, playgrounds for kids) with a natural setting. They are especially great for cyclists because anyone who arrives by bike before 7:30pm is guaranteed a place to camp. Nature Campgrounds put a high priority on peace and quiet, which means you shouldn’t be disturbed by late-night parties or discos. You must be a member to use these campgrounds (€14.95 a year), and the membership can be bought in advance or at any campground. Learn more: http://www.natuurkampeerterreinen.nl
TIP: Similar to the nature campsites are “kamperen bij de boer” (camping on the farm) and “mini campings”. They’re not governed by a specific organisation but still tend to be charming and peaceful.
Forestry Commission Campgrounds – The ‘Staatsbosbeheer’ has 64 campgrounds across the Netherlands. Some are primitive campgrounds where you can camp for free (there’s only room for 3 tents, so it’s a case of first come, first served). Others are part of the Natural Campsites network. They also rent historic houses and rustic cabins: beautiful but fairly expensive. Learn more: http://www.staatsbosbeheer.nl
NTKC – This charitable group was established over 100 years ago by some of the first camping enthusiasts. Those original founders left a legacy for the campers of today, in the form of 21 unique campgrounds across the Netherlands. The one closest to our home, for example, has freshwater swimming and a fire pit. Reservations are never necessary, although you do need to be a member (cost: about €40 a year). A free trial is possible. Learn more: http://www.kampeerclub.nl
Nivon – This organisation has a bit of everything, from ‘green’ campgrounds to ‘nature houses’. For solo travellers, a bed in one of these youth-hostel style houses will be much cheaper than a hotel. The cost savings isn’t as great for families and bigger groups but you do get the use of a kitchen to cook your own food. Some houses are also suitable for wheelchairs. Learn more: http://www.nivon.nl
Floating Campgrounds – Yes, you read that correctly. Camping Rafts are wooden huts, moored on canals. There are only a handful of them and the nightly price isn’t cheap but they do come equipped with nearly everything you need, including the canoe to get to the hut! Learn more: http://www.camping-raft.com
Trekkers Huts – For a roof over your head at a reasonable price, try a Trekkers Hut or “Trekkers Hutten” in Dutch. There are over 250 in the Netherlands and Belgium. At a minimum they provide a bed, pillow, heating, a place to sit, light and power. The “plus” and “comfort” huts have extra facilities such as kitchens, toilets and separate bedrooms. The cost ranges from €40-60 per hut, with room for at least 4 people. Learn more: http://www.trekkershutten.nl
Eurocampings – Perhaps the most comprehensive guide to campgrounds across the Netherlands and Europe. Many of the listed sites are larger ‘holiday parks’ but it’s still a good place to look if the other sources haven’t turned up what you’re looking for. Learn more: http://www.eurocampings.co.uk