If you are looking for a nature-rich area in the Netherlands to go away for a weekend, you will quickly look to the Veluwe, Limburg or perhaps Drenthe. For those who are still looking for a special option to experience the beauty of Dutch nature, the Kop van Noord-Holland is definitely worth considering. We recommend five great ideas the North Head with its beautiful sandy beaches, special dune area and the rich, varied interior to discover with the whole family.
Holland above Amsterdam is the region of North Holland North (or North Holland above the North Sea Canal). The northernmost part, roughly north of Alkmaar and West Friesland, is the Kop van Noord-Holland called. A nice part of the Netherlands where there is plenty of space for peace and nature. On the way there you drive through the polder area, past a typical landscape full of sleeper dikes and West Frisian farmhouses with beautiful roof mirrors in the thatched roof. Here you will find rustic villages surrounded by endless bulb fields. Or flooded fields if you come in the summer. After the bulbs have been harvested, the bulb fields on the sandy soils of North Holland between Petten aan Zee and Den Helder are flooded in order to combat diseases and pests in the soil. A very environmentally friendly way of controlling disease, which also benefits insects and birds.
It is an attractive holiday destination with plenty to do. You can go into nature; the beautiful dune landscape, on the Wad, or on the beach – very beautiful in the sun as well as in rough weather. You can enjoy yourself sporty; from a round of West Frisian Omringdijk (126 km) on a racing bike to mountain biking in the Schoorlse Duinen. And from kiting/surfing to running from the Palendorp van Petten to one of the lighthouses in the Kop. Opt for a cultural outing, where you can learn more about the Golden Age, the nautical history, the battle against the water or the West Frisian folklore in the market town of Schagen. Take an adventurous cruise on the Wadden Sea with a fishing boat, or sail along the Defense Line of Den Helder by barge.
Holiday on the coast
North of Camperduin there is plenty of beach and sea with Petten, Callantsoog and Julianadorp. The coast is no less than 30 kilometers long with beaches especially for families and internationally known kite hotspots. With two small zoos, several playgrounds and dozens of museums in the area, there is still plenty to do with children when the beach weather is not so good. Pleasant weather conditions make the stay just that little bit more pleasant. Like on this sunny and windless afternoon. Degree or 25, great beach weather. Yet it is quiet everywhere, with here and there a few bathers on their towel.
Although the beach is of course the main attraction here, there is more than a beach in the Kop van Noord-Holland. Here you will find beautiful nature reserves near the beach, culture, relaxation, trendy hotspots and fine restaurants. Do you have plans for a fun day out, a wonderful long weekend or a nice holiday to the Kop van Noord-Holland? We have a lot of great tips for your trip!
#1 Laguna Beach Family Camps
Do you also prefer to wake up to the sound of the sea in the background? And are you looking for a holiday full of activities for the whole family? Hidden between the beautiful dunes and a stone’s throw from the sea you will find Laguna Beach Family Camps. This is a unique holiday concept for young, active families. A small pop-up surf campsite, located in Petten in North Holland, where you can experience an amazing holiday with your entire family. You can walk across the dunes from your glamping tent and onto the beach. And there you can paddle, surf, bodyboard, build sandcastles or just relax in a hammock. You choose what you feel like every day and you can participate in all activities and use all the material at no extra cost.
#2 Petten aan Zee Beach
Petten used to have no beach at all, because then there was only the Hondsbossche Zeewering. Petten has responded well to the necessary interventions for coastal reinforcement, by linking these to nature development and recreational opportunities. A few years ago, the gray sea wall was transformed into a beautiful dune area and Petten got a kilometer-long sandy beach, including a panoramic dune and unique Palendorp.
The panorama dune, the Piramide van Petten, can be found right next to the surf campsite. A 26 meter high lookout dune that offers a beautiful unobstructed view of the North Sea, the beach and the polder land. If you don’t walk up to the panorama dune, but towards the ‘Wall Of Shame’, it’s not because you don’t climb all those steps. It refers to a project by Pettemer Arnold Gronert, who makes works of art from waste from the sea, the beach and the dunes. Colorful ‘art’ adorns the Petten beach entrance here.
The so-called Pole Village near Petten aan Zee consists of 160 poles varying from six to twelve meters high. For the time being, the poles are on the beach, but after a few years the sand will be carried away by the sea and the poles will be submerged. This symbolizes the village of Petten, which was swallowed twice by the sea. A giant swing is suspended between two poles. A nice place for taking pictures with the sea in the background.
#3 SUP on the lagoon in Camperduin
Take the car or bicycle and drive over the new dune of the imposing Hondsbossche Zeewering to the lagoon of Camperduin, a shallow dune lake near Schoorl. It is known as the SUP location in the Netherlands. You can paddle, relax while the children play on the play ship and also use the facilities of the Laguna Beach pavilion.
You can do that supping from the location of De Jongens Uit Schoorl on the lagoon. You can borrow a wetsuit and a SUP board with paddle. The children can sit alone or together on a board, or at the parents’ front. But maybe they just prefer to make bombs from the board or sandcastles on the board, with that paddle that functions quite well as a shovel. There is a play ship on the wide beach between the lagoon and the sea, where the children can continue playing after supping. In 1797, this spot was the scene of an infamous naval battle between a Dutch and a British fleet; the Battle of Kamperduin. This play ship brings the memory of that infernal sea battle back to life.
#4 Day at Callantsoog
Be sure to spend a day at Callantsoog, perhaps the nicest seaside resort in the area, less than ten kilometers from Petten. Treat yourself and the kids to an ice cream at IJsie Prima on the Village Square and then walk up the wide steps to the beach.
#5 Looking for wild orchids
The dunes along the Dutch coast are home to many rare species, which can occur en masse locally. Millions of wild orchids grow and bloom in the dunes in the Kop van Noord-Holland and on Texel. They can be admired in their full glory from mid-April to the end of August. One of the places where you are guaranteed to see orchids in the summer is The Swan Water. This oasis in the dunes below Callantsoog offers rare animals and plants ideal living conditions, and each season has its own top attraction.
The Kop van Noord-Holland with the whole family
Although all the activities on and around the campsite in Petten already provide enough entertainment, the area is also worth exploring. Take a walk through the Pettemerduinen or visit Speelbos Zandspoor, where the kids can play with water at the water playground, clamber over the fallen tree, build huts, move sand with a train or jump in the sandbox. Visit nice seaside resorts such as Callantsoog, Schoorl with the (literally and figuratively) highlight of the climbing dune, Bergen or Egmond. Nice trips in the area are Land van Fluwel and Speelpark de Goudvis in Sint Maartenszee. A little further away you can visit the Sea Aquarium in Bergen aan Zee, Blanckendaell Park in Tuitjenhorn, the Marine Museum in Den Helder or maybe Texel. It is only a 20 minute boat ride. And therefore also ideal as a day destination from Petten.