National Park Weerribben-Wieden is the largest lowland peat bog in Western Europe. Natuurmonumenten manages the southern part: De Wieden. This water-rich nature reserve in the Kop van Overijssel is an oasis of space and tranquility. You will find ponds and ditches, vast reed beds, hay fields full of flowers and dense swamp forests.
Rare animals such as the otter and the black tern feel at home in the wet nature of De Wieden. From the observation sites in the area you can see all sorts of birds, such as the cormorant and egret. On the hay fields grow plants with colorful flowers, such as the flower and rattle. Unique for De Wieden is the rare vibrating peat.
If you do not do anything in a lowland moorland (marsh), it slowly changes back to land. The water then grows close with water plants such as reeds, crab shaving and bulrush. After a few decades, the vegetation is already so dense that you can walk over it. This growth is called away. Subsequently, trees grow here, making it eventually marsh forest. In order to maintain the variety in the area, Natuurmonumenten regularly makes new open water in De Wieden, as in the past the painters did. This is how the so-called landslide process starts again. In some cases the rare vibrating peat develops. De Wieden is one of the last Western European nature reserves where you will encounter this 'floating country'.
From the birdwatching spots in the area you can see all kinds of marsh and water birds. De Wieden is of great importance to birds. For example, one sixth of the Dutch black terns breeds here. To keep this special bird, volunteers put special breeding rafts in the area. These serve as a replacement for floating plants such as crab shaving. Natuurmonumenten focuses on special areas for meadow birds. There are also swamps for birds like the mustache, bittern, purple heron and great egret.
There are otters in De Wieden again! The otter was declared extinct in the Netherlands in 1988. In 2002, otters were again expelled. And with success, because otters now live everywhere in the Weerribben-Wieden National Park. With a bit of luck you will come across their tracks.
Flowers and insects
In the summer the hay meadows are mowed in De Wieden. As a result, beautiful flowers bloom every year, such as dandelion, cuckoo flower, rattle and orchids. On those flowers come insects again, such as the rare large fire butterfly and silver moon. In the winter, the reed cutters harvest a large part of the reed, but a part remains as a shelter and nesting place for reed birds.