Picture: Damse Vaart near Hoeke  

start > gb > water


Water in Damme

Three large canals run through Damme: the Damse Vaart, the Leopoldcanal and the Schipdonkcanal.  The Damse Vaart is undoubtedly the most well known with tourists: you can fish here (you require a permit of course) and make a great cycling excursion from Bruges to Sluis.  At the Dutch border, you will find several creeks, remains of medieval floods, that attract quite a lot of birdlife.

 Den Hoorn




Damse Vaart
This canal was dug on demand of Napoleon between Bruges and Sluis.  It is one of the most known spots in the region.  Great for cycling and walking but also a much cherished place for a number of water birds.  Poplar trees (amongst them the famous Marilandicas!) have been planted alongside the waterway, creating the famous distinct view [more info]
This waterway is of vital importance, serving as draining canal for all the surrounding polders.  It was dug in 1845 from Boekhoute to Heist where it pours in the North Sea.  The perfectly lined-out rows of poplar trees form a kind of natural cathedral of trees.  The vegetation on the shores forms the perfect base for an ambush of the blue heron, that can be spotted here often.  Cormorants, ducks and other waterbirds are also very common here.  The banks have their specific plants and are the habitat for various small mammals [more info

This canal runs parallel with the Leopoldcanal on the territory of Damme which results into a unique panorama.  It was dug in 1852 as a diverting canal from the river Leie.  The nickname "de Stinker" (= the smelly canal) refers to the retting of flax that was done in the Leie.  This activity was very polluting and made the water stink really badly.  But that's a part of the past; now fish is again present in the canal en it is a marvellous spot for a refreshing bicycle ride.  Fauna and flora is comparable to that of the Leopoldcanal [more info]
Nature reserve "Platte Kreek"
Floods from the 12th century created this marvellous landscape.  This creek is a swampy area that survived the systematic dry-lying of the Zwin area.  The Flat Creek consists of a creek with rough reeds, a mud plate and salty grasslands.  The reserve boasts a large diversity of marhland and grassland vegetation, which on his turn leads to a wide variaty of typical birds.  Next to the well-known geese and ducks, wading birds (such as the avocet and the small plover) can be spotted regularly on the mud plate. [more info]

Hendrik De Leyn - www.damme-online.com