Two new records from the Amersfoort glacial basin are investigated by means of pollen analysis. The cores are situated in the deeper part, close to the original Eemian stratotype Amersfoort 1 (Zagwijn, 1961) and at the margin of the basin. The aim is to reconstruct the Eemian and Early Weichselian vegetation development and to explore the impact of accommodation space, influx of allochthonous pollen and geomorphology on the vegetation composition. The results of the Amersfoort Basin are compared to the current Eemian stratotype in the Amsterdam Basin and other Eemian sites in the Netherlands. An almost complete Eemian to Early Weichselian sequence (E2-EWII) was retrieved from the deeper part of the Amersfoort basin. The late Saalian (LS) to early Eemian transition is not recorded in the Amersfoort basin, in contrast to the deeper Amsterdam Basin. The basin marginal core Den Treek reveals a condensed late Eemian (E5-6) and Early Weichselian (EW I-II) succession showing the importance of accommodation space. The first impact of the Eemian transgression is registered at the E3 to E4a boundary in the Amersfoort and Amsterdam basins, and highest sea level is proposed at the end of pollen zone E5. Upstream in the Eemian delta, in the palaeo-Vecht valley and IJssel Basin, the transgression is recorded later.
The influx of reworked (allochthonous) pollen in clastic sediment units hampers vegetation and climatic reconstructions during the LS and Eemian. The early appearance of Picea in zone E4 and Abies in zone E5 in clastic sediment intervals can be related to long-distance transport by the river Rhine and redistribution in the Eemian delta.
Local vegetation development can complicate regional biostratigraphic correlations. Alnus, considered characteristic for the late Eemian (E5-6), shows large differences over short distances in the Amersfoort Basin, related to local alder growth since Eemian E3. Carpinus, diagnostic for pollen zone E5, shows high values in the basins adjacent to higher, well-drained ice-pushed ridges, but low values in low-relief environments. Salt- to brackish-water marshes were present during high sea level in zone E5 in the Amsterdam and Amersfoort basins, while further upstream in the Rhine delta brackish to fresh-water tidal conditions dominated.
In line with Zagwijn (1961), the E6 to EWI boundary is defined at the first opening of the vegetation cover with Calluna, Poaceae and Artemisia increase, often coinciding with a lithological change from organic to clastic deposition, reflecting increased landscape instability.
The cores from the Amersfoort basin reveal a complete Eemian to Early Weichselian record. It is suggested to define the boundary stratotype for the base of the Weichselian Stage in the Amersfoort Basin. The current stratotype Amsterdam-Terminal reveals a fully developed LS to Eemian transition and contains the boundary stratotype for the base of the Eemian Stage.