Camping is very popular with Dutch cyclists. From small nature campsites with basic facilities to luxury campsites offering hot showers with underfloor heating - you'll find plenty of campsites to choose from along your route. Some are more geared towards cyclists than others.
Camping is very popular with Dutch cyclists. Photo © Holland-Cycling.com
Prices and facilities of campsites can vary immensely. Sometimes you will find that as a cyclist with a small tent, you have to pay the same as a whole family with a touring caravan and a whopping big car. For some campsites you need a membership card. It is well worth spending some time looking into the campsite that suits you best. It might save you an unpleasant detour at the end of a long day.
Camping in the wild
Camping in the wild is against Dutch law. However, there are a few designated sites where you are allowed to camp off official campsites. These are called paalcampings, which literally translates as 'pole campsites'. The name refers to the fact that you are allowed to camp within a certain radius of the pole that marks the site. This enthusiast's website explains how it works and gives an overview of the locations.
Some campsites give cyclists an extra warm welcome. However full the campsite is, they will never send a cyclist away. Campsites that have joined the Cyclists Welcome! (Fietsers Welkom!) scheme, have a bicycle repair kit so you can mend your tyre if necessary and you can charge your electric bike free of charge.
Favourite campsites of cyclists
The Dutch Natural Camping Association offers small-scale, relatively basic campsites in the middle of nature. These natural campsites are popular with cyclists doing day trips. Whether you'll be able to cycle from one natural campsite to the next, will depend on the region you're cycling in and the distance you want to cover each day. To stay at one of the natural campsites you need to have a Natural Camping Pass. You can purchase this pass through the Natural Camping Association website.
The SVR offers small-scale, relatively basic farm campsites throughout Holland. You'll find SVR farm campsites in the popular cycling regions, as well as along the national long-distance cycle routes. On your first night you will be charged a small fee to become a member for a year. It’s well worth the investment as the camping fees are a lot lower than most other campsites.
Overview of campsites in Holland
Nederland-camping.nl gives you a good overview of campsites in Holland. The site is in Dutch, but even if you don't understand the language it is quite straightforward to use. Just click on one of the campsites on the map. This will lead you to a page with further information on that campsite, including a link to the campsite's own website. Unfortunately not all the links work. But with the name and location of the campsite and some quick Googling, you'll usually find the right website. If not, you may safely assume the campsite no longer exists.
Camping season in Holland
Most campsites are open from 1 April to 1 October. However, some campsites choose to start their season a few weeks earlier or later. If you're camping right at the beginning or end of the season, you might want to check beforehand whether the campsite you're heading for is open. It can save you a lot of hassle at the end of a day.
There are some campsites that are open all the year round. These are mostly aimed at people in caravans. Presumably you'll also be welcome if you have a tent, but as most campers are not that hardy, you'll probably have the tent site all to yourself.