Netherlands

The Dutch Wadden Sea...

…extends west of the Ems mouth along Lauwersmeer and Afsluitdijk to about Den Helder, where a steeper coast line starts south of it.
The five inhabited Wadden Sea islands Schiermonnikoog, Ameland, Terschelling, Vlieland and Texel are popular destinations for nature lovers and guests who seek ease and recreation. Especially Texel and Ameland offer an excellent infrastructure for school trips and group tours.

Experience the Wadden Sea in the land of mills and polders

Discover the unique “green beach”, explore the history of whaling or climb up one of the most beautiful lighthouses of the Wadden Sea on the island of Ameland.
Get to know the varied landscape of the largest Wadden Sea island Texel, watch Eurasian spoonbills at their breeding ground, stroll around the National Park “Dunes of Texel” or listen to sailor’s yarn and beachcomber stories.
Or book a daytrip with trawlnet fishing, seal safari and cultural expedition with the Natuurschool in Lauwersoog or at the German island Borkum.
The Dutch IWSS Partner Centres are looking forward to your visit! Each offer can be booked in English, German or Dutch.

Nature & Landscape

The islands of the Dutch Wadden Sea continue the Lower Saxon chain of islands that originate from a barrier beach in western direction. Both regions resemble scenically, but the Wadden Sea becomes deeper towards the west. Large-area dune territories, broad beaches and salt marshes characterize the Dutch Wadden Sea islands. At the mainland coast diked marshes (polders) are dominating.

Culture & History

The people of the Wadden Sea region lived from fishing, whaling, agriculture and trading for many centuries. The seafaring brought them over the oceans and also through the entire Wadden Sea region, where traces of the Dutch influence can be found all the way up to Denmark. In many places architecture and urban development witness the Dutch culture.
Today tourism is the most important source of income, but the rich cultural history of the Dutch Wadden Sea region is still visible in the villages and the surrounding landscape.
Also beachcombing has achieved some notorious fame and until today “jutten” (collecting stranded goods at the beach) is a favoured pass-time of some islanders. A lot of these treasures and the corresponding adventure stories and sailor’s yarn are shown in the “Maritiem en Jutters Museum” on Texel or in the “Landbouw- Juttersmusueum Swartwoude” on Ameland.

Nature Conservation

Since 1980 the Netherlands Wadden Sea is protected according to the key planning decision Wadden Sea (PKB), also called the Wadden Sea Memorandum, which is a national physical planning document defining the overall objectives of conservation, management and use of the Wadden Sea (amended 1993).
With this document, the Netherlands have been the first of the Wadden Sea countries to realize, in addition to single nature protection areas, large-scale protection of the Wadden Sea.
The two National Parks “Dunes of Texel” and parts of the island Schiermonnikoog offer diverse possibilities for nature experiences and recreation.