Kagerplassen, North & South Holland, Netherlands

Lake Locations:

Netherlands - North Holland - South Holland -

Also known as:  Kaag Lakes

One of the most popular waterways in the Netherlands is the Kagerplassen or Kaag Lakes. This series of ten lakes is connected by canals which make the entire system accessible to pleasure boaters. The waterway consists of five larger lakes and five large islands, only one of which is inhabited. The system also connects via canal to several other lakes and small waterway systems, all of which are a focus of recreation on the border of North and South Holland. Here, water lovers sail, swim, fish, waterski, wakeboard, kayak and camp. In winter, ice skating and ice sailing are popular sports. In all seasons, visitors and locals on holiday enjoy the walking paths, shops, historic buildings and windmills. The area around Kagerplassen is the heart of Dutch windmill country. The windmills play a vital role in the formation of the lakes and keeping water levels stable. The scenic shorelines feature grazing animals, flower fields and numerous Dutch boats, and were the favored subject matter for the artists Rembrandt and Jan Steen.

Three towns lie directly along the shore of the Kagerplassen: Warmond, Blatenkaag and De Kaag. The village of De Kaag on the island of Kagereiland serves as a focal point for visitors; the historic town contains many old buildings and homes having a long history that is published to facilitate walking tours. Shops, cafes and restaurants nestle between hotels, bed-and-breakfasts and inns. The village of De Kaag, like the entire shoreline of the Kagerplassen, is like a trip back in time, a living museum of historic Dutch culture. Two others islands, de Lakerpolder and de Kogjespolder, are managed by the Dutch Forestry Commission. Boterhuiseiland (Butterhouse Island) is a camp headquarters for sea scouts and is remembered fondly by many a Dutch adult from their happy childhood on the water. The marshes on the islands and around the shore offer excellent breeding grounds for meadow birds, greylags and ducks. In the winter all kinds of water birds forage here, making the walking paths a favorite among nature lovers.

A ferry runs regularly to take visitors to and from Kagereiland Island from Blatenkaag. Tour boats leave regularly to cruise the entire waterway, a trip of about two hours. Visitors can disembark at towns along the waterway and catch a later boat back if they wish to explore. Several marinas rent everything from row boats to kayaks to motor boats. A number of sailing schools and ski schools dot the shoreline, imparting the skills needed to safely enjoy one’s chosen water sport. Such motorized sports as waterskiing and wakeboarding are allowed in marked areas, and a permit is necessary. Most of these areas are on the Norremeer and the Dieperpoel lakes in the vicinity of the town of Warmond. This leaves plenty of quiet area for sailing and paddlesports.

The entire area is popular with cyclists, and bicycling routes are laid out complete with published maps and bicycle rental concessions. One of the most popular is the Windmill Route. Beginning in the City of Leiden, a few miles south of the Kagerplassen, this 24-mile route makes a wide circle around the Kagerplassen and several other small lake systems, passing over a dozen picturesque and historic windmills along the way. Most of the windmills are open to tourists whenever the sails are turning, and several contain small museums relating the mill’s history. Although many of the windmills are used to maintain water levels in the polders, others were built to mill grain, run sawmill equipment and even process wool for garments. Also of interest in Leiden is the municipal museum of Leiden, the Museum De Lakenhal. Some of the galleries in the museum tell of the history of Leiden and its woolen industry; others contain exhibits of contemporary art.

The Kaag Lakes are considered natural lakes. However, the Dutch countryside has been hydraulically engineered over hundreds of years to reclaim land for pasture, farming and villages. Peat excavation has also lowered ground levels to the high water table. This area is in the midst of peat meadows which sink as they dry out, necessitating careful management of water levels in the ‘polders’ or dyke-enclosed lands. Some polders are land reclaimed from lake bottoms and areas prone to flooding. All require regular water adjustment to keep them useable and viable for production, often via windmill. The lakes and canals are below sea level and are an integral part of the hydraulics of water management in South Holland.

The Kagerplassen is connected to a larger network of lakes and waterways called the Holland Lakes-or Hollandse Plassen. All are connected to the Haarlemmermeer Ring Waterway, the Does River and other small waterways, making much of northern South Holland available to boating. The Kagerplassen is less than 25 miles from the well-known town of Delft and The Hague. Amsterdam is only half an hour away. The coastline of the North Sea is less than 10 miles from Kagerplassen, making this the perfect spot to spend an enjoyable, water-filled holiday only a short distance from major attractions.

Because of the popularity of the Kagerplassen area for vacations, many guest houses and tourist apartments exist, along with campgrounds and more luxurious hotels and lodgings. Plan to spend a week or two here, using Kagerplassen as home-base for visits to the Delft factories, shopping in Amsterdam, enjoying the North Sea coastline and indulging your thirst for beauty and history in the museums of The Hague. It’s a holiday with something for every member of the family.

Things to do at Kagerplassen

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Ice Skating
  • Biking
  • Birding
  • Museum
  • Shopping

Kagerplassen Photo Gallery

Kagerplassen Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): -7 feet

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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