Netherlands is a country in Western Europe that is slightly less than twice the size of the U.S. state of New Jersey, covering an area of 41,543 square kilometers and bordering only two countries, Germany and Belgium. The terrain in the country is mainly coastal lowlands and reclaimed polders with some hills in the southern parts of the country. Netherlands has a mean elevation of 98.5 feet (30 meters) above sea level and the lowest point is -7 meters at Zuidplaspolder, while the highest point is Mount Scenery reaching 2,877 feet (862 meters) above sea level. Mount Scenery is on the island of Saba in the Caribbean, which is now part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands after the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved. These mountains are mainly of volcanic origin formed during various periods. The mountains are important physical features and provide a unique landscape in Netherlands. Some of these mountains are home to a rich biodiversity of plants and animals unique to the climates in the country. The government has also designated these areas as parts of some national parks and reserves to protect its biodiversity.
Mount Scenery (Saba)
Mount Scenery is the highest point in the Kingdom of the Netherlands at an elevation of 2,877 feet, and it is located within the Saba Municipality. The stratovolcano is potentially active, the last eruption having occurred in 1640. The mountain has mostly primary and secondary rainforests on its slopes, cloud forests, mosses and a rich diversity of flora and fauna. The lower elevations of the Mount Scenery support dry evergreen forest with species such as white cedar, sea grape, and redwood, cacti, mountain mahogany, grassy meadows. The volcano supports animal species such as Saban Anole lizards.
The Quill (Sint Eustatius)
The Quill is the second highest point in Netherlands at an elevation of 1972 feet. The stratovolcano is located on the Sint Eustatius Island in the Caribbean. The volcano was established as a national park in 1998. The mountain, though it has been dormant for a long time it is considered potentially active due to groundwater heating. The Quill supports a rich collection of flora and fauna including elephant ears, breadfruit, raspberries, orchids, tree ferns, trumpet wood, Caribbean hermit crabs, iguanas, butterflies, anoles, and snakes.
Troy is the third highest point in Netherlands at an elevation of 1,818 feet. The mountain is located in Saba. The mountain is home to some animals such as lizards, iguanas, and some birds. The mountain attracts a large number of tourists mountaineering, and hiking.
Sint Christoffelberg (Curacao)
Mount Christoffelberg is the fourth highest point in Netherlands at an elevation of 1,230 feet. The mountain is found within the Curacao Christfellpark which is a reserve and wildlife park in the Dutch Caribbean. The peak of the mountain has a rugged terrain with caves on the lower elevations of the mountain. The mountain supports a wide variety of flora and fauna including cacti, iguanas, lizards, the white tailed deer, and a wide variety of bird species. The mountain is located within the dry curacao area which is composed of the main limestone in contrast to the mainly hard quartzite of the mountain. The mountain supports activities such as hiking, scrambling and mountaineering which are viable all year round.
Tourism in the Dutch Hills and Dutch Caribbean Mountains
These high points of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, both on mainland Europe and in the Caribbean, serve as major tourist attractions for both the wildlife supported therein as well as the activities supported by these areas. Such activities include mountaineering, rock climbing, hiking, and bird sighting, as well as watching wildlife. Among the highest points are Vaalsberg, Schimperbosch, Brandaris on the island of Bonaire, Klingelberg, and Jamanota on the island of Aruba. Some of the areas have been protected for ecotourism to promote conservation of wildlife by the tourists.