Lake Ouderkerk, North Holland, Netherlands

Lake Locations:

Netherlands - North Holland -

Also known as:  Ouderkerkerplas, Ouderkerk Lake

Lake Ouderkerk graces the Amsterdam ‘Green Belt’ of Amstelland like a shimmering mirage. This lovely man-made lake was dug during sand extraction for highway building on one of the famed polders of North Holland and soon developed into the perfect family swimming spot near the city. The surrounding area is below sea level, and the 140-foot deep sand pit quickly created one of the deepest lakes in the Netherlands. Although considered a freshwater lake, seepage of sea water from the nearby North Sea makes the water briny enough that it seldom freezes. Nearly all of its fresh water comes from precipitation.

The northern part of Lake Ouderkerk, properly named Ouderkerkerplas, was partially filled with concrete rubble. This shallower portion now sports two swimming beaches complete with sandy sunbathing areas and playgrounds. Located about three miles from Amsterdam, Lake Ouderkerk is a popular after-work destination for city residents. A day camping area offers shelter, shade and convenience for visitors. A water sports club caters to those who enjoy sailing, wind surfing and other activities. One boat ramp allows for the launch of small sailboats, row boats, canoes and kayaks. A spot along the shore is open for diving, and many areas along the shore are very deep or drop off quickly. Most boating and windsurfing take place on the southern, deeper parts of the lake.

Walleye, pike, perch and zander live in Lake Ouderkerk. However, many areas in the Netherlands are open only to ‘fishing clubs’, so visitors should check local regulations before attempting to fish. Fishing licenses are required. Local fishermen often use float tubes rather than boats to get to their favorite fishing holes. Although the lake does not freeze, it is closed from October 1st to April 1st to provide privacy and solitude to the large numbers of waterfowl that winter and nest here. Many of the birds stay year-round, and birding is a major attraction at Lake Ouderkerk.

A large number of walking, cycling, and equestrian trails circle Lake Ouderkerk and connect to other trails in the area. North Holland’s unique system of dikes and polders (low-lying, drained lands) creates easy foot paths and pedal paths along the tops of many dikes. One of the most enjoyable pathways encircles the nearby De Ronde Hoep nature area. Used for generations as a grazing and flood control area, De Ronde Hoep has been redeveloped as a 400+-acre meadow bird sanctuary. Managed by the Landscape North Holland Foundation, water levels have been adjusted to provide the best habitat for grassland birds. With the addition of the tens of thousands of water birds wintering and nesting at adjacent Lake Ouderkerk, no birding fan can pass up a trip to the Amstelland bird sanctuaries. Ronde Hoep was nominated in 2010 to the Tentative List at World Heritage, a first step for inclusion on the World Heritage List of UNESCO. The first attempt was not successful, but plans are in the works for a second attempt.

The old village of Ouderkerk aam de Amstel is the only settlement on the shore of Ouderkerkerplas. First recorded in the 12th century, the old village section is historic and scenic, with several architecturally-significant churches, a 16th century ferry manned by volunteers, and the lovely Amstel River flowing through the town. The oldest Jewish cemetery in North Holland is located here. A nearby tourist farm with petting zoo is always a hit with children. The oft-photographed Rieker windmill, built in 1636, is now a private home but can be admired from the outside. Ouderkerk aam de Amstel has become a noted location for a wide variety of restaurants and cafes offering fine dining, small shops and guest accommodations. Several hotels, guest stays and holiday apartments are available. A popular mode of arrival is a boat cruise down the Amstel River. Amsterdam residents often walk or run the dike-top paths to Ouderkerk aam de Amstel for a special brunch or lunch before heading back to the city. The walking and cycling paths around Ouderkerkerplas are regularly the scene of marathons and races.

The large city of Amsterdam is a cosmopolitan location for many scientific and academic retreats and meetings. The city holds several excellent museums, many hotels and spa-style accommodations. The Van Gogh Museum holds many of the artist’s works and artifacts from his life. A second art museum stop is nearly mandatory at the Rijksmuseum which holds a large collection of Dutch art. The Anne Frank House is open for tours. Boat cruises along the canals are always a great way to see the city and nearby countryside. Regular tours by bus take sightseers to several historic windmills, and walking tours cover the most interesting areas of this old city. Although better known for its abundant nightlife, the beaches along the North Sea are filled with swimmers and sunbathers every sunny summer day.

As a land reclaimed from the sea, most of North Holland is surrounded by dikes, polders and the remnants of old peat bogs. Controlling water and maintaining a delicate balance between nature, civilization, and the always-encroaching saltwater are a never-ending marvel of human ingenuity and adaptation to local conditions. Places like Lake Ouderkerk and De Ronde Hoep give visitors the opportunity to view the systems of canals, dikes, pumps and channels that allow the Dutch to enjoy this man-made paradise for generation after generation.

Things to do at Lake Ouderkerk

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Wind Surfing
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Birding
  • Museum
  • Playground

Fish species found at Lake Ouderkerk

  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Walleye
  • Zander

Lake Ouderkerk Photo Gallery

Lake Ouderkerk Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Surface Area: 180 acres

Shoreline Length: 3 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): -13 feet

Average Depth: 62 feet

Maximum Depth: 141 feet

Water Volume: 9,405 acre-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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