5 things to do on the island Vlieland in Holland
April 29, 2016
Vlieland is my favorite island in the Wadden Sea. It’s 12 kilometres long and around the village it’s only 1 kilometre wide. Because tourists need to leave their cars at the mainland, walking and cycling around on the island gives you the feeling of peace and nature. I go there at least once a year, but when you visit Vlieland for the first time, what are the things to see and do? Besides enjoying the vast and quiet beach and getting up early to watch beautiful sunrises, here are 5 things your should do when you visit the island Vlieland:
Lighthouse, Vuurboets dune and ‘bokkendal’
Ofcourse you have to climb the Lighthouse. The Lighthouse is really small, yet the boats do see the light since it’s located on Hollands highest natural dune, the Vuurboets dune. From this dune you have a great view on the ‘bokkendal’, a dune area inhabited bij goats. Untill the beginning of the last century the Vlielanders kept goats for milk. When there was bad weather forcasted, the goats were herded into this sheltered valley. The Bokkendal is now the center of waterproduction, but ofcourse there are still goats.
Visit the village
The island has one village, Oost-Vlieland. There used to be a West-Vlieland too, but it disappeared in the sea. The tide ate the island bit by bit in the west. At the same time the tide put off new sand in the east. In fact the island would walk slowly towards Germany if the Dutch had’t built sea dikes. Oost-Vlieland is a beautiful village. It’s small; only one street, the Dorpsstraat, with some side streets, called gloppen. The many old facades reminiscent the past. Don’t forget to visit the area around the church and cemetery. Specially the ‘Armenhuis, the old Poor House, now a restaurant, is a beautiful place.
A ride with the Vliehors express
‘The Vliehors Express’, a bumpy truck, brings you to the extreme point of Vlieland wich is called the Vliehors. At this end of the island you can almost touch another Dutch Island, Texel. Often you can see seals here. The Vliehors Express also stops at the little ‘Drowning House’. This cottage is a few hunderd years old. Dozens of drownings were saved. Now it’s a wedding venue and the smallest museum in the Netherlands, a Juttersmuseum. All kinds of objedcts found on the beach are exhibited here.
This is my favorite activity on the Wadden islands! I always go on a boat trip hoping to see seals when I visit Vlieland. Most Dutch Wadden islands offer sealtrips, called ‘robbentochten’ but I like them most on Vlieland, because here you go with a small boat, a ribboat. This means you can come close to the seals without disturbing them. And it’s possible to shoot them from eyelevel wich gives you great photos.
Kroons Polders en Posthuys
The nature reserve the Kroons Polders is located on the west side of Vlieland and is adjacent to the Wadden Sea. This area is special because of the transitions from a salty to a sweet environment. The inner polder is primarily fed by fresh water and therefore has a very different vegetation structure than the outer polders bordering the Wadden Sea. After a hike in the Kroons Polders you can have a lunch in the Posthuys. For years this building was a link in the mail delivery from Amsterdam to Vlieland. In the famous Dutch Golden Age numerous merchant and war ships on their way to all corners of the world anchored off in the port of Vlieland. Amsterdam merchants wanted a ‘post row with horses and boats’ so letters could reach departing ships as quickly as possible. It took 10 to 12 hours for these ‘sea letters’ to reach their destination. A postillion on horseback rushed from Amsterdam to Den Helder, where a post skipper brought the letters to Texel. As a post rider was ready for the ride across the island. From Texel a second post skipper brought the letters to the Posthuys in Vlieland.
What is your best tip to do or see on the island Vlieland? Share it with us in the comments below.