Sights of the Wadden Islands, Netherlands
If we add up the surface areas of the Wadden Islands, we arrive at a result of 405 km². The islands of Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog fall under the province of Friesland. The Island of Texasl is part of the province of North Holland. The many vast nature reserves are ideal for walking and cycling trips. The old small villages such as Hollum and Den Burg have many historic buildings and homes, some of which are used as museums. For example, on Vlieland you will find a museum in the old Tromp’s Huys and on Terschelling you will find the Cultural History Museum ‘t Bevangen Huys in two commander’s houses. In addition to plenty of peace and nature, the islands offer plenty of entertainment and, for example, (water) sports options. Most villages are located on the west side of the islands.
What does not directly fit into a top 10 sights of the Wadden Islands, but what should be mentioned, is the atmosphere that characterizes each of these special islands. No stress, no large-scale ostentation. It is the rhythm of the Wadden Sea that determines life here. Nature is by far number one here. That is what you will experience in many different ways during your visit to the Wadden area.
Top 10 sights of the Wadden Islands
#1. mudflat hiking
According to Psy Know How, the Wadden Islands are probably best known for the typical mudflat hiking. A number of organizations offer various organized walks where you cross a number of islands. Due to the changing of the tide, when the water level is lowest, you walk through mud, mussel beds and sand flats. Some routes are so tough that it requires some experience and good fitness. The weather conditions can have a major influence on this. Footwear is important for successful mudflat walking. For example, half-height nylon sneakers are ideal for walking on the mudflats. Sneakers that are too low can get stuck in the mud and with boots you run the risk that the boot will stay and you will shoot yourself out of the boot.
Texel has 7 villages, each with its own character. This variety ensures that every kind of tourist will find his own place on the island. As far as we are concerned, Oosterend is the most beautiful village on Texel. The name already reveals that this town with more than a thousand inhabitants is located on the eastern side of the island and should actually be at the end of the east. That was true. Oosterend is actually a port town until silting up took away this function in the nineteenth century. The fishermen of Oosterend now have their ships in the harbor of Oudeschild. Oosterend is now a cute village where you can see many traditional houses.
#3. Nature reserve De Boschplaat
Bird and nature lovers should definitely pay a visit to this beautiful nature reserve on the island of Terschelling. During the breeding season you will find no fewer than 65 to 70 different bird species here. In particular, the Spoonbill, Herring Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull find their destination here every year. The plant species also contain some very remarkable species such as the American Cranberry. The Boschplaat has been one of the most valuable nature reserves in the Netherlands for several years now. To give the bird a rest during the breeding season, the area is closed between March 15 and August 15.
Despite its small number of inhabitants, Hollum can call itself the largest village of Ameland. Hollum has many monumental buildings that can be found scattered in the small nostalgic streets. Due to the amount of commander’s houses, the village has not lost its authentic character. Real attractions are the beautiful lighthouse, the old flour mill and the 9-hole golf course. The lighthouse can be climbed, after which you will be rewarded with an impressive view. Another special recurring spectacle is the trip from the rescue museum Abraham Fock, in which a number of horses bring the lifeboat into the sea.
#5. The Bellows
One of Europe’s largest beaches can be found on Schiermonnikoog: DE Balg. The beach has a width of approximately one kilometre. Because more and more sand is being added via the east, it is possible that this will only become wider. Partly thanks to the expanding flora, it has become a beautiful piece of nature. Not only attractive to people, but also the seals find it an excellent place to rest and sunbathe. With the Balgexpress, special covered wagon tours are organized with which you can visit these beautiful animals. The largely car-free village of Schiermonnikoog is certainly also worth a visit.
#6. Ecomare Texel
Would you like to know more about nature in and around the Wadden Sea? Then pay a visit to Ecomare. This important and informative center on the island of Texel has everything to increase your knowledge when it comes to the mudflats and everything in and around the North Sea. You will not only find a marine aquarium here. For example, there is also a nature museum, bird sanctuary, dune park and a seal sanctuary. It is a park that you should not miss.
#7. The Burg
The majority of tourists visit Den Burg, which is centrally located on the island of Texel. Not only are there about 64 national monuments to be found here. There is also plenty of entertainment to be found. For example, you will find an outdoor swimming pool, a cinema, a market and many cozy cafes, restaurants and shopping facilities. The small museum ‘ de Oudheidkamer ‘ takes you back in time and gives you a glimpse into the life of Aagje, the wife of VOC mate Harmanus Kikkert.
#8. Cultural-historical Museum ‘t Bevangen Huys
What was once a one-off exhibition has now blossomed into a beautiful culture and history museum on the island of Terschelling. All exhibitions of the Cultural History Museum ‘t Bevangen Huys lead you back to the island or its inhabitants. In addition to painting, there are also various objects on display, such as a bronze ax from 1200 BC. The name of the museum comes from the residence on Nova Zembla of explorer and inhabitant of Terschelling Willem Barentsz.
#9. Beachcombers Museum Swartwoude
Beachcombing is inextricably linked to life on the Wadden Islands. With so many coastal areas, it is not surprising that a museum has been set up here about what all washes up on the beaches. Juttersmuseum Swartwoude takes you on an adventure and also gives you a taste of life as a farmer on Ameland. You will also get to know the story of Ritskemooi. Here you take a walk on a shipwreck. In short, a lot of history and adventure can be discovered in this museum. The museum can be found in Buren on Ameland.
#10. Museum Cape Skil
You can find out everything about life on and on the sea around Texel in Museum Kaap Skil. This museum, located in the village of Oudeschild, used to be called the Maritime & Jutters Museum. The museum has a collection of maritime and Texel objects dating from the past four centuries. An important part of this are the archaeological diving finds that are exhibited in the main building. An absolute must is the model of Texel in the basement of the building. You can request information from a number of ships on the model via digital screens.
The open-air museum forms a fairly large part of Museum Kaap Skil. Here you can visit traditional fishermen’s houses and see how the fishermen and their families used to live on Texel. The smithy, the bakery, the beachcombing and the grain warehouses are other parts of the open-air museum. De Traanroeier is a corn mill that you can admire from the inside. He originally comes from Zaandam and was moved to Oudeschild in 1902.