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Facts & Figures

Important dates

1968 Flevoland reclaimed
1974 construction of quay to save marshland
1982 construction of the ‘bathtub-shaped’ route for the railway line
1983 introduction of Heck cattle
1984 introduction of konik horses
1986 assigned Natuurmonument status
1989 assigned Bird directive site status
1989 assigned Wetland status as part of the Ramsar Convention
1992 introduction of red deer
1999 Ethical Guidelines determined
1999 European diploma for protected areas
2000 Leidraad Grote Grazers laid down by the lower house of parliament
2004 European diploma for protected areas re-issued
2005 parliamentary debate on winter die off
2006 ICMO report on winter die off
2007 court judgment on large grazers
2009 third European diploma for protected areas
2010 definitive appointment decision Natura 2000 published
2010 parliamentary debate on moving nature policy evaluation forward
2010 ICMO report evaluation.

Surface area

  • Oostvaardersplassen: approximately 6,000 hectares (approx. 6x10 kilometres)
  • Hollandse Hout: approximately 900 hectares (approx. 3x3 kilometres)
  • Oostvaardersveld: 328 hectares
  • Oostvaardersbos (formerly known as Fluitbos): 170 hectares
  • Kotterbos: 340 hectares

Visitor numbers

  • Number of individual visitors: approximately 200,000 per year
  • Number of excursions: approximately 400 per year
  • Number of groups: approximately 100 per year

Plants and animals

The area is characterised by forb-rich, short grasslands, reedbeds, forb species and trees and woods here and there which primarily consist of willows with birches, hawthorn, poplars and ash. Approximately 250 species of plant have been observed. Exceptional species rare outside the Oostvaardersplassen, but numerous within it include marsh fleawort, common brass buttons, marsh cudweed and red bartsia.

  • Mammals

    Red deer, konik horses, Heck cattle, roe deer, hares, rabbits, field mice, bank vole, wood mouse, harvest mouse, foxes, stoat, European polecat, weasel, muskrats.

  • Fish
    Carp, carp bream, stickleback, bass, ruffe, ide, silver bream, mirror carp, common roach, eels, pike perch. Exceptional species include bleak, common dace, European smelt and European chub.

  • Amphibians and reptiles
    Common toad, natterjack toad, brown frog, green frog, marsh frog, smooth newt, grass snake.

  • Insects and butterflies
    Black-tailed skimmer, broad-bodied chaser, map, orange tip, drinker, black carrion beetle.

Large grazers

The following table provides the figures for the large grazers at the Oostvaardersplassen for the period 1 January - 1 May 2010. During this period a total of approx. 1,093 died. This means 70.8% of the large grazers survived the winter. Newborns were not included in the calculation of the survival percentage as they were not alive when the winter started.

The period from 1 January – 1 May applies when calculating the survival percentage. After 1 May, grass growth quickens providing sufficient food in the area for the large grazers to be able to get back into condition. At the Oostvaardersplassen a management style has been selected which entails leaving the animals to lead as natural a life as possible. If an animal’s condition is such that recovery is impossible the animal is shot to prevent possible suffering. This takes place according to the ICMO recommendations as laid down by the Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.

Numbers as of

Numbers as of
01-05-2010 minus spring 2010’s births

Heck cattle



Konik horses



Red deer