The Hydraulic Forest in Autumn

The Waterloopbos (let’s translate that with Hydraulic Forest) in the Dutch North East Polder has a post-apocalyptic quality. It is as if a nuclear disaster occurred here fifty years ago. Everywhere you see crumbling wall, sluices, canals and strange installations, partly overgrown by the forest.

A weathered brick wall, a canal and many trees, in the Waterloopbos (Hydraulic Forest) in the Dutch North East Polder on a rainy day in autumn

Hydraulic engineering

The reality is, fortunately, somewhat less dramatic. From 1952 to 1995 this area was in use by the national Hydraulic Laboratory. The numerous watercourses and ponds with their wondrous artifacts are the remains of hydraulic scale models. The area is nowadays a national monument and open to the public.

Pond with rusty installations, in the Waterloopbos (Hydraulic Forest) in the Dutch North East Polder on a rainy day in autumn

November

This summer I visited the Waterloopbos for the first time and I really liked it. But a forest is of course at its best in the fall; a good reason to travel to the polder again in early November, together with travel companion R.

Canal with colorful forests on both sides, in the Waterloopbos (Hydraulic Forest) in the Dutch North East Polder on a rainy day in autumn

Depression

It was a day with memorable weather conditions: a small depression was running around in circles and caused major local differences in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, the Noord East Polder wasn’t very lucky this day: we walked through the forest in the rain for about two hours.

Rusty old installations in a pond, in the Waterloopbos (Hydraulic Forest) in the Dutch North East Polder on a rainy day in autumn

Tripod and lens hood

But in fact that wasn’t bad at all. It was pleasantly quiet; the crowds of fellow photographers who were here this summer had stayed at home. And the overwhelming colors of the foliage made the photos, despite the gray weather, anything but gloomy. My mini tripod was indispensable, with shutter speeds of up to five seconds. And a lens hood managed to keep most of the rain drops off the lens.

A small waterfall in the Waterloopbos (Hydraulic Forest) in the Dutch North East Polder on a rainy day in autumn

Monumental

The most monumental construction in the forest is the Deltawerk. This 240-meter-long concrete structure was was partially sawn open and therefore made accessible to the public, based on an idea by artists Ronald Rietveld and Erick de Lyon.

Interior view of the Deltawerk, a former facility for wave experiments, in the Waterloopbos (Hydraulic Forest) in the Dutch North East Polder on a rainy day in autumn

Lichen

A number of concrete elements have been turned and tilted. Over the years, the Deltawerk will become increasingly weathered and covered with lichen. But even now the huge structure, located in its reflection pond in a large clearing in the forest, is already very photogenic.

The Deltawerk, a large concrete construction in the Waterloopbos (Hydraulic Forest) in the Dutch North East Polder on a rainy day in autumn

Practical

Some practical information for blog readers who also want to take a look at this unique piece of nature: the official address of the forest is Voorsterweg 34 in Marknesse. The bus from Zwolle to Emmeloord stops at the Voorsterweg bus stop, located on the edge of the forest.

November scene with fallen leaves, a reflective pond and wildly shaped trees, in the Waterloopbos (Hydraulic Forest) in the Dutch North East Polder on a rainy day in autumn

Food and drinks

Visitor center / restaurant Het Proeflab is open seven days a week. Unless, of course, it’s booked in its entirety for a wedding, like during our visit. But in that case cafe Saantje, in nearby and scenic Vollenhove, is a good alternative.

Renovated installation in a pond, in the Waterloopbos (Hydraulic Forest) in the Dutch North East Polder on a rainy day in autumn

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Spam-controle: *