5 outdoor lakes in Dutch cities you can swim in

5 outdoor lakes in Dutch cities you can swim in

It’s summer and although the Dutch weather can be notoriously unpredictable, hopefully it will be warm at some point this season. And what’s the first thing that comes to mind when temperatures reach above 25 degrees? Where can you swim, of course! And more importantly, where can you swim outside, especially in Dutch cities.

An abundance of bodies of water

The Netherlands is home to countless bodies of water, all of which may look extremely refreshing on those hot summer days. However, whilst that may be the case, you are not allowed to swim in any old canal, lake or stream you find. The water could, after all, be crawling with bacteria you’d rather not ingest.

That’s why it’s always best to check to see the latest status of the hundreds of official swimming locations. These spots are tested for their water quality and physical safety, so you can ensure your dip won’t have you visiting the doctor later. Here are five locations in cities across the Netherlands where you can swim outdoors. The spots are all official swimming locations, but before heading out, make sure you still check the status of the water quality.

1. Amsterdam: Nieuwe Meer

Want to escape the tourists in Amsterdam and go on an adventure? Head to the Nieuwe Meer! One route you could cycle to get there is through the Amsterdamse Bos - talk about fairytale - and then take a small ferry (available on the weekends) to the Oeverlanden on the north side of the lake. Of course, you can also get there by public transport. There are two official swimming spots here, both of which are free entry.

The north side of the Nieuwe Meer is split into two areas, a nature reserve and a recreational area where you can grab a bite, go to the bathroom (an important detail), play on the beach or barbecue in certain signposted areas. If you visit the nature reserve, you might catch a glimpse of a group of Scottish Highlanders grazing there - sounds pretty awesome to us!

The exact address is: Nieuwe Meer Westzijde, Oeverlanden, and Nieuwe Meer, Noordoever. Both are on the Anton Schleperspad, Amsterdam. 

2. Utrecht: Haarrijnse Plas

A cool dip is exactly what we’re looking for on those hot summer days, but where to go if you live in Utrecht? Why not take a trip to Haarrijnse Plas; it’s situated in the province of Utrecht, so, unfortunately, it’s a little more than the usual five-minute bike ride. You’ll find the lake between Vleuten and the area Haarrijn. Luckily, it's also possible to get there by bus from Utrecht Central Station.

You can safely swim in the enclosed area of the lake and there is also a sandy beach, dunes, and sunbathing sports areas, with equipment to play games, which you can enjoy. There are also other facilities available, such as toilets and a restaurant. Bringing your own tipple is not allowed - something to keep in mind if you were planning on sipping on something alcoholic in the sun. 

The exact location of the lake is Marga Klompésingel, Utrecht.

3. Rotterdam: Kralingse Plas

Dutch cities have an abundance of water, and Rotterdam is no different. However, there are only a few official swimming spots. One you could visit is Kralingse Plas, located at Langepad. You can find the Kralingse Plas between the Kralingse Forest and the neighbourhood, which shares the same name, Kralingen.

It is a pretty big lake, and you want to be on the west side to be able to swim there. There’s also a beach, and for the naturists, a nudist beach to the north. If you're worried about the water quality at the Kralingse Plas, you could always check out one of Rotterdam's other swimming spots, such as the two at Zevenhuizerplas, or the one at Plas Wevershoek.

4. The Hague: Plassen Madestein

You could, of course, visit Scheveningen beach if you are in The Hague, but why not get away from the crowds and visit a lake instead? Head on over to Recreatiegebied Madestein (Recreation Area Madestein), one of the greenest areas in The Hague! There are plenty of entrances to the area, so you can come from whichever way you please. It’s also possible to get a bus there if you don’t fancy cycling.

Unlike Scheveningen beach with its salty seawater, this lake has fresh water, so you won’t have to dust all the salt off after drying.

Around the recreational lake, there are several small beaches and sunbathing and sports areas. If your stomach is rumbling, take a trip to Pluk!, a farm with a lunchroom. There, besides grabbing a bite, you can pluck fruits, vegetables and flowers on a subscription basis, and pet the animals.

5. Leiden: Kagerplassen ‘t Joppe Merenwijk

‘t Joppe is one of the lakes making up the small lake system called the Kaag Lakes. It’s a pretty big lake, with the Westoever part lying in Warmond. The official swimming location here is on De Strengen island, where you’ll find a sunbathing area and a sports area too, but for the most part you’ll be surrounded by nature and a recreational area - sounds like the perfect, relaxing day to us!

What is your favourite swimming spot?

Have you visited any of these spots? Or do you know of another awesome, official swimming spot? Share them in the comments below! But remember, always check online to see if the quality of water at the spot you want to go to is good and there are no warnings known. After all, no one wants to go swimming only to get sick afterwards, right?

Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

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Sanne Leijten 00:43 | 27 July 2019

Tbh they really forgot ' De Put' in Raamsdonksveer..a lot of people go there