At least once a year my heart longs to visit one of the beautiful Wadden islands. There are six Wadden islands, each with its own character, size, habits, atmosphere, population, nature, food, beverages, parties, float, and traditional costumes. Each island in itself is special. The Wadden Islands are surrounded by the sea. On the north side by the North Sea with great beaches and on the south side by the Wadden Sea. At low tide, the beaches are immensely wide and the sea is endlessly far away.
Nature in Motion
The Wadden Sea and the Wadden Islands are always in motion, it is an area that has to do with low and high tides, wind, flow, currents, sandbanks, and channels. There is a very dangerous current between the islands, so be aware if you go for a swim.
How to get to the Wadden islands
To travel to the Wadden islands you have to take a ferry. To some islands, you can travel by fast ferry. On most ferries, you can take your car, bicycle, or go on foot. Only to the car-free island of Schiermonnikoog, you can take your bike.
To travel to the island of Texel, you have to take the boat from the city of Den Helder, North Holland.
The boat to Vlieland and Terschelling departs from the city of Harlingen, Friesland.
The boat to Ameland departs from the harbor village of Holwerda, Friesland.
The boat to Schiermonnikoog departs from the harbor village Lauwersoog, Groningen
From the mainland to the Wadden Islands
The boat trip from the mainland to one of the Wadden islands is a wonderful start for a stay on an island. When I think of the sound of the bustling sea and the wonderful salty smell of the sea, I am immediately able to leave my home and go to the lovely Wadden islands.
Art around the Wadden Sea
I love art, the bigger the better. Of course, that isn’t always so, but in general, I think large landscape art is more than great. Many great works of art can be admired around the Wadden Sea. So I strongly advise you, before you cross over take some time to see some of the works of art in this lovely countryside.
Stay for some days on the Wadden islands
When you come to our country you should not miss a nice trip to the Wadden Islands. Best you stay a few days on one of our Wadden Sea Islands or go hopping from one Wadden island to the next Wadden island. One of the most popular activities in the Wadden area is mudflat hiking. Accompanied by an experienced guide during low tide, a walk from the mainland to an island. Next to mudflat hiking, there are lots of other nice things to do on the islands, camping, biking, walking, swimming, surfing, bird watching, seal spotting, sailing, and not to mention just relaxing and having a good time.
Where to find the Wadden Sea and Wadden Islands
The Wadden Sea Islands are in the north of Holland and stretch out over 3 countries: The Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark. In 2009 the Dutch and German parts, and in 2014 the Danish coast, were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
The Dutch Wadden Sea Islands belong to the provinces of North Holland, Friesland, and Groningen. The six Dutch Wadden Sea Islands are Texel, Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland, Schiermonnikoog and Rottumeroog. Texel is the largest of the Frisian Islands and the easiest to visit by train when you make a trip from Amsterdam.
The Wadden Sea Area
The Wadden Sea has a total length of 500 km. The total area is about 10.000 km2 and stretches out from the north of Holland to the north of Denmark. In the Netherlands, the Wadden Sea was half a century ago still connected to the Zuiderzee. A large inner Sea in the center of Holland. The Zuiderzee was closed by a dike, this dike is called the Afsluitdijk. The lake that formed after the closing is now called the IJsselmeer. The Afsluitdijk is 33 km long and connects the providence of North Holland with Friesland.
What’s keeping the water out?
The Afsluitdijk is the connection between Friesland and North Holland but is also the dike that separates the water of the Wadden Sea from the IJsselmeer. The IJsselmeer used to be the Zuiderzee. The Afsluitdijk is being renovated, this is a major project and has been going on for some years now. There are several places to stop on the Afsluitdijk so you can enjoy the view over the Wadden Sea and the Ijsselmeer. At the beginning of the Afsluitdijk near Friesland is a huge light artwork created by Daan Roosengaarden.
Everything you always wanted to know about the Wadden Sea and the Wadden Islands
➔ The Wadden Sea and the Wadden Islands
Experience the striking height difference between the Wadden Sea and the IJsselmeer on the Afsluitdijk. The water on one side of the dike is considerably higher than on the other side. This phenomenon is caused by the natural tidal action of the Wadden Sea, which is connected to the North Sea, while the IJsselmeer has a more constant water level. The contrast in water height offers an impressive view of the power of nature and human intervention in Dutch water management. You can walk and cycle on the Afsluitdijk to admire the landscape on both sides. This is a unique opportunity to understand natural water management in the Netherlands.
Gates of Light by Daan Roosegaarde
Driving over the Afsluitdijk is an experience. Drive over the Afsluitdijk in the evening and experience the light artwork by Daan Roosegaarde that makes this ride spectacular. As many as 60 light-reflecting buildings are illuminated by the headlights of passing cars.