Flamingos in Germany - at first glance the name of this eventful cycle tour seems strange, but at the latest in the Zwillbrocker Venn you will understand the naming. Yes, it really does exist in the Münsterland: the northernmost flamingo breeding colony in Europe. The best time for observing these fascinating birds is from March to July, if breeding is successful even into September. They spend the winter on the Ijsselmeer and in the Rhine delta. The more than 50 flamingos in the Zwillbrocker Venn make the cycle tour along the Flamingo Route an extraordinary experience. But the pink birds are not the only highlight. Each of the numerous natural areas along the route has its own special features. Experience the dreamy landscapes of the regions with all their unique facets and enjoy the tranquillity in the untouched nature.
The Flamingo Route unites them all: the most beautiful and impressive natural areas of the German-Dutch border region between Enschede and Borken. On 450 signposted kilometres you will experience a refreshing, adventurous and at the same time exotic and mysterious tour by bike. Many unique moors and heaths await you, but also tranquil villages and lively towns with wonderful buildings such as Castle Ahaus or Castle Gemen. The circular tour is a true experience due to the incredible diversity of natural areas and the numerous sights along the way. Many of the protected areas are home to very special plants and animals. Besides flamingos, blue moor frogs and rare plants such as the beautiful marsh gentian can be found here, for example. We have compiled some of the most amazing nature reserves for you here.
The Zwillbrocker Venn nature reserve is home to the northernmost flamingo colony in the world. The landscape is characterised by wet meadows, moor and heathland landscapes and shallow lakes. A true bird paradise with 60 different bird species and countless other animals and rare plants, such as the beautiful and colourful heath plants.
With its almost 600 hectares, the Haaksberger Veen (NL) is a very special nature reserve on the Flamingo Route. Moor and heath as far as the eye can see, with many botanical specialities such as the white beak reed, the marsh gentian and the moor lily. The extensive heaths and the unique high moor vegetation are home to about 30 dragonfly species.
The Buurserzand nature reserve (NL) gets its special charm from the splendidly flowering heath landscape with broom and bell heath, the 150-year-old juniper stand as well as the heath heron and the small moors and forests. An enchanting place that has become home to numerous rare creatures and plants through targeted rewetting.
The originally dammed Heideweiher, which was used for intensive fish farming until 1952, is now a nature reserve covering approximately 100 ha and is located in the western Münsterland near the German-Dutch border. Part of the former moorland and heath landscape has been preserved and is now the habitat of many animal species and rare plants, such as the marsh St. John's wort and the marsh lycopod.
The Witte-Veen (German: Witte Venn) is a transboundary nature reserve between Haaksbergen (NL) and Ahaus (DE). The nature reserve impresses with its well-preserved wet meadows, bog areas and nutrient-poor still waters. On the German side, a semi-open pasture landscape is being created in the Witte Veen through the targeted use of robust Heck cattle.
Thanks to numerous reclamation and nature conservation measures, the moor and heath areas in the Hündfelder Moor have been preserved and today provide a habitat for numerous endangered raised bog plants. The Flamingo Route takes you directly through species-rich wet grassland. For nature conservation reasons, you can only reach the sensitive moor and heathland areas via the Amtsvennroute moor experience trail.
The Kuhlenvenn is a real bird paradise and is home to a rich variety of breeding birds, but the water-rich nature reserve is also used as a resting place by many unusual migratory birds. The 67 hectares of the former moor lie in the headwaters of the Heubach and are characterised by wet meadows and pastures. In the centre of the Kuhlenvenn lies the approximately 10-hectare groundwater lake.
Together with the Dutch Wooldse Veen, the 147 ha nature reserve Burlo-Vardingholter Venn forms a cross-border protected area. By rewetting the moorland, the flora and fauna have been able to recover from the damage caused by peat extraction. Today, the wonderful wet heaths and extensive moorland areas provide a habitat for many animals and plants.
The Bekendelle is the oldest forest in Winterswijk (NL) and exudes a special charm due to the numerous small streams. In the almost 200-year-old forest you have a particularly good chance of seeing rare birds such as the kingfisher or the grey wagtail.
The almost 500-hectare Korenburger Veen (NL) was in danger of becoming the largest wooded area in Winterswijk due to scrub encroachment, but through targeted watering measures it was possible to preserve the beautiful moorland. The core of the raised bog is growing again and now provides a suitable habitat for numerous species such as orchids and marsh heartleaf.
Many natural areas along the Flamingo Route are under special protection. During your visit, please stay on existing paths and respect closed areas. Be considerate of fauna and flora. At many places, information boards provide insight into the natural areas. Leave nothing but footprints and take only photos and unforgettable impressions with you.