The Wadden Sea has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009. The Wadden consist of the islands: Texel, Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog. They are located on the North Sea, in the northwest and north of the Netherlands and can only be reached by boat.
The origin of the Wadden Islands were created by the last ice age when the sea level was about 100 metres below the current sea level. Subsequently, wave action and tidal movements transported sediment from the sea to the coast.
The Wadden Sea is a recognized biological ecosystem found only on the Dutch-German-Danish North Sea coast. Low and high tides alternate here every 6 hours in the extensive system of channels and dry sandbanks. This results in a unique habitat for more than 10,000 (rare) plant and animal species. In addition, the Wadden Sea is also a popular stopover for millions of birds during their migration.
Here are a few more fun facts about the Wadden Sea and Wadden Islands:
- The total area is about 1,050 square kilometres;
- And has about 81,000 inhabitants;
- You can mudflat hike between the mainland and Ameland and Schiermonnikoog;
- Schiermonnikoog is the smallest Wadden Island, but is the largest in terms of its nature. The entire island has the status of a National Park;
- The last battle of World War II took place on Texel, while the rest of the Netherlands was already liberated;
- Schiermonnikoog has the widest beach in Europe;
- Texel is the largest island;
- The oldest and still working lighthouse is on Terschelling;
- On Vlieland, air force exercises are conducted daily by different countries including fighter jets practicing interceptions and air battles. Various targets are also set up for bombs, board weapons and missiles.
- The best way to explore the Wadden Islands is by bicycle, so leave the car on the mainland.
In short, the Wadden Islands are definitely worth at least one visit. Feast your eyes and soak up nature and culture!