New Land is the perfect example of Dutch ingenuity. Reclaimed from the sea, the region’s polders have been completely transformed from their underwater origins into the bustling cities of Almere and Lelystad, giving rise to towering buildings and amazing architecture. Nearby, the landscape changes into vast expanses of nature and wildlife at Oostvaardersplassen, a home to thousands of majestic animals.
Getting to New Land is simple: you can take a train directly from Amsterdam Central Station in 20 minutes or, better yet, hop on a bicycle and pedal your way to the polders to see the sights along the way.
Here's our guide to the best things to do in Amsterdam's New Land:
Take in the awe-inspiring architecture of Almere
As a relatively new city, Almere was once a blank slate on which architects could make their mark – and they have. What that means is the city now boasts an array of incredible architecture. In fact, a visit to Almere is a real must-see for architecture buffs, but its remarkable buildings ensure that anyone can appreciate the city’s exceptional structures. Take a walking or cycling route through the city to check out The Wave, a massive structure that mimics the motion of the water; the Rainbow District, where the homes bring a colourful brightness to the city; and dozens of private homes in unique designs.
Explore New Land's amazing architecture.
Hike through nature at Oostvaardersplassen
When New Land’s flooded landscapes were reclaimed from the sea, a new home for wildlife was born. A “rewilding” project by the Dutch government, Oostvaardersplassen has now become an oasis for nature lovers. With Heck cattle, red deer, Konik horses and more birds than you can count, it’s no wonder it’s called the Dutch Serengeti. Hike or bike through the nature reserve’s 56 square kilometres to watch these wild animals on your own, or take advantage of the many activities offered through the reserve, such as stargazing and ‘golden hour’ safaris.
Learn more about Oostvaardersplassen.
Admire larger-than-life land art
Almere’s impressive buildings aren’t the only things that tower over New Land – some structures are purely aesthetic, built to evoke emotion and to create a connection between the land and sea. Those structures are New Land’s seven pieces of incredible land art, that are scattered all across the polder: travel to Lelystad to see world-famous artist Antony Gormley’s Exposure, a 26-metre tall structure of metal beams in the shape of a crouching man, or why not embark on a walking tour of all seven pieces of land art.
Discover more about land art in New Land.
Fly through the (simulated) sky at the Aviodrome
For those that have always dreamed of becoming a pilot, now you can achieve those dreams – in a simulator, that is – at the Aviodrome, an aviation museum in Lelystad that has everything a flight fan loves. Tour a real Boeing 757 jumbo jet (yes, even the cockpit!) and get behind the controls of a F-104 Starfighter simulator to get some real-life pilot training; later, tour the museum to view some of its most treasured objects, such as old pilot and stewardess uniforms, handbooks and more.
Find out more about visiting the Aviodrome.
Fill your shopping bags at Batavia Stad
Everyone needs a little retail therapy now and again, and there’s no better place to treat yourself to some time finding something new than at Batavia Stad Fashion Outlet. Located in Lelystad and accessible from Amsterdam city centre via a daily Shopping Shuttle, the outlet centre is like its own little village, with 150 shops, cafes and restaurants to enjoy. Browse through high-end fashion brands – including Armani, Calvin Klein and Michael Kors - as a special treat for yourself, or find the perfect gifts for your friends and family.
See our guide to Batavia Stad.
Go on a nautical voyage at Batavialand
As is evident by the sheer existence of New Land, the Dutch pride themselves on their command of the water. One place where you can explore this special relationship is Batavialand, which celebrates everything nautical, to get an even better look at the exceptional history of the Netherlands’ waterworks. The main attraction is the perfect reconstruction of the 17th century ship, the Batavia, towering over the wharf: climb aboard the spectacular vessel and imagine that you’ve travelled back in time. The museum also tells the story of this once-sunken region. A visit allows you to get your hands dirty with an interactive exhibit about the IJsselkogge, a medieval cog ship found on the bottom of the IJssel in 2010, and view an exhibition delving into the 435 sunken ships found when Flevoland was formed. Also, don’t miss the Flevowand, a 40-metre long, handwoven cloth tracing the history of the Zuiderzee from the Saalien ice age to the present day.
Discover more about Batavialand.
Visit the former island of Schokland
The first place to be named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Netherlands, Schokland is truly unique: it was once an island in the Zuiderzee, but it is now surrounded by land rather than water. Tour the Museum Schokland, which delves into the history of the area, or attend an intimate afternoon concert in the 19th-century museum church.
Make a splash with water sports
Where there is water, there is the potential for epic water sports. Dozens of sailing and surfing schools dot the coastline of New Land, allowing for guests to windsurf, kitesurf, water ski, parasail and much more. If high-octane adventures on the water aren’t your cup of tea, pack a picnic, rent a boat and sail the open sea.
Learn more about Big Lake, perfect for water sports.
Explore the world’s largest polder
A hundred years ago, there was nothing but water here. Flevoland is the Netherlands’ youngest province: the land was impoldered in the first half of the last century and the province of Flevoland was officially founded in 1986. It’s home to modern cities such as Almere and Lelystad, which blend modern architecture with futuristic urban planning, all while embracing the water and nature right on their doorstep.
Get a bird’s eye view of New Land
Cap off your tour of New Land by taking flight and getting the best view you can. A select number of small air carriers offer sightseeing flights from Lelystad Airport, either in a helicopter or a small plane, to give you a tour of this distinctively Dutch expanse from the sky.