Navigation system address for offleash areas 1-4: Madepolderweg 102, Den Haag. Free parking. Once you have parked, if you face the Madestein Restaurant and the lake is to your right, head to the left for the first off-leash area.

Navigation system address for offleash area 5: Madesteinweg 38, Den Haag. Free parking. Once you are parked, cross the Madesteinweg for


Madestein Restaurant (number 6 on the map): I have never been myself, but I met this lovely old couple who have coffee there every day and swear by it. To be researched.

‘t Brasserietje (number 7 on the map): I have not been in, but it has a lovely terrace facing the water.

Offleash areas

Offleash area 1: Offleash dogs are allowed to the left of the parking lot, but for a disappointingly small distance. If you walk a circle starting away from the water, you have to leash up your dog when you get closer to the water again.

Offleash area 2: If you go back to the lake, and make sure the lake is now to your left and the busy road to your right, head in that direction following the path (make sure you leash up your dog for this stretch). At some stage, you shall see a sign that allows you to walk off-leash again (when you are away from the grass embankments of the lake). The off-leash distance is ridiculously small, so you might not want to bother unleashing the dog.

Offleash area 3: If you keep following the path and zig-zagging along the busy road, you shall reach the road at some stage. Once there, you shall need to walk on the pavement/cycle lane for a couple of meters until you enter a large parking lot. With the lake to your left and the road to your right, head for the entrance of the green area, and make sure you make for the trees immediately, as the grass is off-limits to dogs… I presume people are meant to teleport their dogs from the parking lot to the ‘losloopgebied’… Now we’re in business: this area is made of grass fields of a respectable size, interspersed with clusters of trees.

Offleash area 4: If you keep going from offleash area 3 in the direction of (i.e. with the Vroondaal residential area to your left and the Madepolderweg to your right), you shall get to a ‘dog pond’ with a picnic table, with especially designed ramps for the  dogs to get in and out of the water easily.

Offleash area 5: Really big area with lots of water, reeds, bridges, woodland and clearings. A lot of it is offleash, and the bits where dogs are not allowed are clearly indicated

What is so special about it?

All in all, it is a rather big domain.

A fair few reasonably sized grass fields where the dog can run free and go wild.

The grass areas are well-kept and clean-cut, and I do not see as much discarded garbage there as I do in other parks nearby. The lake can be stunning around sunset. There is also a beach with an industrial-themed play area for kids, but that is totally off-limits for dogs of course.

There is a butterfly garden (‘Vlindertuin’) with a sign explaining the species to be found there. Dogs are not allowed there.

There is a petting zoo (the Hoeve Bijdorp, number 8 on the map) in which dogs are welcome! Enter at your own risk, mind, as mine got head-butted by a goat and wasn’t all that impressed after that.

There is a very instructive flower garden (‘Heempark HJ Bos’) to the back of the petting zoo. Dogs are absolutely not allowed there, though.

Everybody I have bumped into was invariably friendly and convivial.

Watch out for

A few offleash areas are close to the Madesteinweg, the Lozerlaan or the Madepolderweg. You even have to cross the busy Madesteinweg to go to offleash area 5.

Some of the offleash areas are criss-crossed by horse paths, which is not always handy if your dog is a chaser.

Off-leash area number 2 might as well not be there as it is so ridiculously short. The entire are between offleash  for dogs, and it happens to be gorgeous.

In places, cyclists and pedestrians have to share a path, and in other places, the cyclists use the pedestrian paths. This does not always make a great combination with dogs.

I was warned of large fight-type dogs and their anti-social owners frequently using the domain, but, having been there a couple of times, I can’t say I ever noticed.


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Last updated April 2010