The isle of Texel
Texel is the largest of the ‘Waddeneilanden’ (Frisian islands) and without doubt offers the greatest variety.
The seven cosy towns each have their own aura. They are surrounded by a great deal of countryside. Even outside the 40 official nature reserves, Texel has a huge wealth of birds and exceptional flora, not forgetting just as many sheep as people.
The Dunes of the National Park covers more than a quarter of the island. And there are plenty of nature areas in the middle of Texel and along the Waddenzee. Everywhere on the island you will also come across reminders of Texel’s turbulent past.
The Isle has a rich and dynamic history. In 1170, the island was flooded by the All Saints Flood. The first traces of humans on the island date back to the Mesolithic Period, 8000-4500 B.C. In 1415, Texel received city rights. It reached a pinnacle in the 17th and 18th century when the merchant ships procured supplies for their long journeys in the Reede van Texel. A low was reached in April/May of 1945 during the Georgian uprising; the final battle of W.W. II. A bloody battle was fought between the Germans and an insurrection of Georgian soldiers, while the rest of the Netherlands had already been liberated.
The continuous effect of the tides has had great consequence in the creation of the Wadden Islands as they are today. They originated some 8,000 years ago. The North Sea filled up and the sea level rose. Large quantities of sand were moved to the coast. The tidal flats became dry upon low tide and submerged upon high tide. The channels in between eroded resulting in tidal flats which were then no longer submerged. And yet, Texel has a very different landscape compared to the other Wadden Islands.
In one of the final ice ages, a sturdy layer of boulder clay stayed behind on Texel. These boulder clay deposits are where the first inhabitants settled and this surface is where a landscape originated different from the sandy surface of the other islands. The Wadden Islands are not only part of the Netherlands.
The Wadden Islands stretch to Denmark
The Wadden Sea stretches from Den Helder in the Netherlands to Esbjerg in Denmark. Roughly 50 islands form a protective buffer between the North Sea and the Wadden area so to speak. The islands are constantly moving: they slowly “walk” from west to east. On the eastern side larger sand continuously develop thus generating new land, whilst on the western side, the island disappears bit by bit into the sea.
Texel is the largest
Texel is the largest island, followed by the Danish island of Rømø and the German Sylt. Sylt has the most inhabitants with 21,000 people. Texel counts just under 14,000. In total, the Wadden Islands are home to over 81,000 inhabitants. The Netherlands has five inhabited Wadden Islands. The Dutch have developed a handy mnemonic to remember the names as well as the order of the islands.