Vlieland, the smallest Dutch Wadden Island
Vlieland is the smallest inhabited island of the Dutch Wadden Islands and lies farthest from the coast. Vlieland is covered in greenery and has many high dunes, long beaches, clear seawater and forests. These are enhanced by the island’s car-free quality. Vlieland is calm and undisturbed, pure and natural. It is the ultimate destination for peace seekers. Here, you can still experience the real island life. The island is quiet and pleasant. There is only one town on the island: Oost-Vlieland. It is surrounded by beautiful natural reserves.
Anyone who would like to experience the authentic island feeling had best take the ferry to Vlieland. The island’s peace and space take you back to times long past. Picturesque is the right word to describe Oost-Vlieland. At the same time, everything you desire can be found here, including modern luxuries such as the new marina. The well-stocked shops, quality restaurants and nice cafe terraces all tell the same story: the authentic Vlieland is completely up to date.
The island is covered by bicycle paths and everything is easily reachable by bike. Vlieland possesses the largest marina of all the Wadden Islands. If you want, you can go waterskiing or explore the Wadden on a fast boat for a relatively low price. The beaches of Vlieland are some of the most beautiful in the Netherlands, and it has twice as many hours of sunshine as the rest of the country. In short, Vlieland has much to offer for a weekend trip.
Vlieland is modest in size. However, this is not the impression you get when you stand on the beach. For it is not only wide, but also 12 vast kilometres in length. An endless, empty plain: where else in the Netherlands can one find such a thing? Vlieland’s North Sea beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Netherlands. If the weather is nice, small lakes form on the beach during high and low tide that are heated by the sun. Children can catch shrimp and crabs in these lakes. A net can be bought in the town for this purpose.
Vlieland’s beach is on its northern side. Here there is a long and narrow sandy beach. Most activity occurs around the marina. Beach pavilions, restaurants and swimming supervision are all present. Do you want to surf in peace? If so, you have come to the right place. There are not many surfers on the island, so there is plenty of space available. Horse-riding, kite flying and fishing are also among the possibilities. The beaches are clean, and there is so much space that nudism is permitted. In bad weather, the sea’s waves grow tall off the coast of Vlieland, and many things wash ashore. If you visit Vlieland in the autumn, you can get some fresh air by the sea and find many interesting objects on the beach.
Vlieland has only one town: Oost-Vlieland. It is located directly by the sea and is not separated from it by a boulevard. The town’s beautiful old main street is in the centre and is lined by trees. Here there are plenty of terrace cafes and restaurants. The town still exudes the atmosphere of a fishing village. This is partly because the town and the rest of the island are car-free. Only the island’s inhabitants are allowed to drive their cars.
The historical character of Oost-Vlieland has been preserved well. Its status of protected townscape is more than justified. The oldest mention of Oost-Vlieland is from 1245. Even now, many historical buildings can be found here. One example is the Tromps Huys, where you can learn all about Vlieland’s history. In recent years, the island has improved much in quality. This is evident in Oost-Vlieland, where the quality of the shops, cafes, restaurants, terraces and other establishments is outstanding. Vlieland is home to various large and small restaurants. Many of these can be found in the Dorpsstraat, and almost all of them have nice terraces in the front and/or in the back.
Of all Dutch Wadden Islands, Vlieland is farthest from the mainland. Perhaps this explains the island’s overwhelming peace. There is no other place where you can hike and cycle so unhindered. Be ready for a blissfully relaxing trip through the dunes and polders and the extensive forest. Or maybe you’d like a different take on relaxation? In that case, how about horse-riding, windsurfing, kite flying or sea fishing? You will find your inner self on Vlieland.
The Tromps Huys Museum is an admiral’s home built in 1896. The museum’s collection contains many paintings, drawings, photographs and pieces of furniture that embody Vlieland as it used to be. If you want a nice view of Vlieland, you should definitely climb the lighthouse. To get to the top of the Vuurboetsduin, you will have to make a 40 metre ascent. This dune is the highest of the Wadden Islands, on top of which the lighthouse stands proudly. The door is open between July and October. Your climb will be quick, for the tower has only 51 steps. At the top, a splendid view awaits.
Vlieland in numbers
Outside the town, Vlieland’s natural beauty begins. Birds love to come here, and you will therefore encounter many species. The Kroons Polder houses a nesting area for birds, where tours are given. The island is highly suitable for hiking, cycling and horse-riding. There are many marked trails. The visitor’s centre De Noordwester can provide you with these. The enormous sandy flat known as Vliehors is also worth a visit. Take the Vliehors-Express to get there. This modified truck allows you to get a nice view of the ‘Sahara of the North’.
Vlieland - an island of peace and space - offers untouched nature in abundance. Discover the dunes and marshes, the mudflats and the beaches. Enjoy the natural beauty, the plants and animals of the polders and the vast coniferous and desiduous forests. If you’re a naturalist, Vlieland has everything you need. And if you’re not yet a naturalist, you will become one after one of the forestry commission’s excursions. Everybody can learn to appreciate nature on Vlieland.
- Visit the cozy neighboring Wadden Islands Terschelling and Texel with many sights and natural beauty.
- Discover Vlieland through one of the many beautiful cycling, hiking, horse riding and skating trips.
- Breath of fresh air during a long beach walk, the way to completely lose the tension of everyday life.