Not every adventure is created equal. There are times I just want to get on the water to escape and it really doesn’t matter where it is. After an entire winter of not paddling (the cold wet weather here in The Netherlands is my excuse) I needed in mid March to get out of the house.
Close to where we live is a nice man made park on the outskirts of Hoofddorp. The lake at this park is 3km circumference and has a small beach and areas on the water for windsurfing and diving. Many weekends you can find divers out with their equipment preparing for their next adventure. It is a great place to practice since there is very few boats other than the windsurfers around.
There is nice concrete launch pad next to the Long Island Restaurant that is normally used for divers but is low and easy to access a kayak or canoe. Beware that this lake has considerable dropoffs not far from shore. For a small manmade lake it averages between 4-5 meters deep but has some parts 11 meters deep.
March is still pretty cool here but just like when I kayak in Minnesota in the early Spring I layer my clothes and I always wear my PFD!
The day I paddled it was more to test out my new equipment. I found first off I was not happy with the paddle that came with the kayak. Large, heavy and maybe not the right length I complained about it as soon as I paddled 100 meters. The best part about Toolenburgerplas is that it has a great paved hiking path next to the lake making it perfect for testing equipment while someone acts as a safety along the shore.
This urban lake has a fair amount of water birds. Swans, ducks of all sorts, coots, and cormorants all made for an interesting paddle. The shoreline has reeds planted along the edges providing cover for the local song birds as well.
This park/lake is a great place to escape the Amsterdam spiral and enjoy a walk. It is accessable by bus line 397 , this bus runs every eight minutes from the Schiphol airport or downtown Amsterdam. The bus stop is on the east side of the park. The auto parking is on the west side of the park where the lake boat launch site is located.
I enjoyed my paddle at Toolenburgerplas and it was great to experience the park from the lake after walking along the shore for the last 10 years.
Some sites and things to do if you want to visit Toolenburgerplas Park :
Long Island Restaurant, Hoofddorp – great place to have a meal while visiting.
Restaurant Lieveling, Hoofddorp- This is my go to place for a cup of coffee and watching the lake activities (when I am not on the lake). Nice outside seating facing the sun.
Diving at Toolenburgerplas – This website gives all the diving information for the lake and has some really cool fish and underwater pictures!
With two small sand beaches swimming is great. The 3km paved trail that surrounds the lake makes it very popular with bikers, runners , and walkers. Summer time is very busy at this park and I would suggest for kayakers the early morning is best for a paddle in order to beat the crowds.