Grassland area Zuidpolder Delfgauw one step closer

meadow birds

Did you know that 90% of black-tailed gulls in northwestern Europe breed in the Netherlands? And about 15% of it in South Holland? An important part that we as a region like to take care of. This is also badly needed, because the population of meadow birds is unfortunately declining. First, it’s a shame for these special birds. In addition, the presence of meadow birds also says something about the quality of nature and biodiversity in rural areas. This decline is everyone’s concern and action is needed!

With the South Holland Farmland Birds Action Plan, concrete initiatives are taken to create a more suitable habitat for meadow birds such as black-tailed gulls, but also redshanks, vibe and partridges and to improve the quality of existing habitats. This is a collaboration between the province of South Holland together with the agricultural collectives united in BoerennatuurZH, the joint nature and environmental organizations and the voluntary meadow birds.

much prey

One of the initiatives in the action plan is the establishment of meadow bird areas based in the province. This is done, for example, in the Zuidpolder in Delfgauw, between the N470 and Oude Leede. A so-called land exchange has been carried out under the supervision of the Stichting Kavel Wissel Zuid-Holland. Landowners, tenants and other interested parties have contributed their land and made agreements on the best way to divide and use the land. Additional plots of land have been acquired where necessary. All this with the aim of connecting the natural land in the core and realizing land closer to their farm to farmers. It creates opportunities for both nature and agriculture.

The land exchange in Zuidpolder was officially established by the notary on Thursday 28 April. An important step! The parties involved have now started preparations for the final layout of the meadow bird area.

What will the meadow bird area look like in the future?

Meadow birds like moist herbaceous grasslands with plenty of food and space to breed peacefully. Therefore, extra ditches are being built in the meadow bird area so that the water level can be better regulated and a higher water level can be set. In the coming years, there will also be a focus on more herbs and flowers, so the area will be a mecca for insects, the most important food for the meadow birds. Trees and shrubs that are too tall are removed to prevent enemies such as crows or birds of prey from sitting in them. In the southern part of Zuidpolder, a nature-friendly bank is created for insects, fish, frogs and other aquatic animals. This part of the area is therefore also interesting for eg the gray heron and the spoonbill. The current nature reserve De Groene Keijzer is getting richer on water with basins and shallow basins.

Strengthen initiatives

In addition to the planned nature management, the farmers in Zuidpolder are already doing a lot for the meadow birds through agricultural nature management. This will be expanded and supported where possible. This includes herbaceous grasslands that are mowed only after the breeding season so that chicks and nests remain protected. In addition, there is adapted handling of ditch sites, which increases biodiversity, and there are duck locks in the area. In the coming months, further agreements will be entered into to harmonize and strengthen the management of the duck cover, the meadow bird area and the agricultural landscape as much as possible.

Holland’s nature network

The province officially wants to include the future meadow bird area in the national network of nature reserves, the Netherlands Nature Network (NNN). As a result, it is well protected and money is also made available to management. It is expected that Zuidpolder will officially join NNN in 2023 and that the design measures have been implemented.

What went before

With a declaration of intent, 4 parties in 2019 agreed to investigate the possibilities for a meadow bird area in Zuidpolder. These were the province of South Holland, Staatsbosbeheer, Delfland Water Board and the municipality of Pijnacker-Nootdorp. The plans will be further elaborated in 2020. It seems that a combination of a meadow bird area with nature-inclusive agriculture around it is the most promising. The development of Zuidpolder as a meadow bird area is one of the initiatives from the South Holland Farmland Birds Action Plan.


Do you have questions? Please contact Dirk-Jan de Vink from the province of South Holland via

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