Ditch Days

Ditch Days

Jun 01, 2024Jul 07, 2024
Various locations

Roll those trouser legs up and put your welly boots on - Ditch Days (Slootjesdagen) gives children the chance to learn all about the insects, reptiles and amphibians that live in the humble ditch.

Ditch Days 2024

It is an almost universal truth that kids love poking around in the places that no one wants to. If it's dark and dirty and neglected, they'll be in there like a shot - through the hedges and under the rocks. Ditch Days is a series of events throughout the Netherlands designed to use that impulse to teach children about the animals and plant life that live all around us, but are often not seen or thought about. 

The day is aimed at children aged between the ages of four and 12, but the Nature Guides do hope that guardians will get involved too - you're never too old to get excited about holding a frog! There are more than 100 sites throughout the country that you can visit, and each will have nets, maps and magnifying glasses to help the underwater exploration begin. Pond skaters, damselflies, dragonflies - they might be smaller than the more famous Dutch wildlife, but they are fascinating nevertheless!

The Institute for Nature Conservation Education (Instituut voor Natuurbeschermingseducatie)

The days are arranged by the Institute for Nature Conservation Education (IVN), and each event is largely run by volunteers, those adults who still have the childlike wonder and joy at nature and see the value in protecting it and teaching about it. They hope by educating children about the value of nature, even the scrubby bits in the corner of the park, they will take a love of nature with them into adulthood.

frog being held in hands

Citizen researchers

You can also become citizen researchers for the day! If you count up the different animals you see, you can report them to so environmental scientists can use the data to track the health of water bodies across the country. This year is focussed on the Caddisfly, but all reports are welcome.

The most city-accessible events

  • June 9, 11am-4pm: Leeuwarden, at the Rest Point Leeuwarderbos
  • June 15-16, 11am-4pm: Tilburg, at the Drijflanen nature reserve
  • June 15, 11am-4pm: Almere, at the Weidepoel in the Vroege Vogelbos
  • June 16,11am-4pm: The Hague, at the Milieueducatiecentrum in Zuiderpark
  • June 22, 11am-2pm: Het Twiske nature reserve, near Amsterdam, at the Zorgboerderij De Marsen
  • July 7, 11am-3pm: Hoofddorp, at Park21

Taking part

You can find a full list of the events on the Ditch Days website. You do not need to register for most of the events, you can just drop by during the operating hours. Materials such as nets and magnifying glasses are provided, but if you want to bring your net and bucket, you can of course do so. It is an interactive activity, so make sure everyone is wearing clothes they don't mind getting dirty!