Vlieland is one of the five
Wadden Islands; the country's five northern isles in the shallow
Waddenzee stretch in an arc from Texel to Schiermonnikoog. They
are important bird-breeding grounds and provide an escape for
stressed southerners who want to touch roots with nature. Texel
is the largest and most populated island - it has 24km of beaches
and hosts the world's largest catamaran race in June. Terschelling
is known as a good-time isle, while Vlieland has more of a family
atmosphere. Ameland has quaint villages but explodes with tourists
during summer. Schiermonnikoog is the smallest island, comparable
to Vlieland. Ferries from Den Helder, Harlingen, Holwerd and Lauwersoog
connect the islands to the mainland and there are hostels on all
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE
YOU STEP ABOARD THE VLIELAND FERRY
There are two ferries leaving Harlingen; one goes to Terschelling,
our neighbouring island, and the other goes to Vlieland. Please
pay attention to which boat you get on. The name of the ferry
to Vlieland is OOST- VLIELAND. This boat brings you in about one
and a half hours to our island.
Tickets can be purchased at the Doeksen Office at the ferrry terminal
in Harlingen. A return ticket to Vlieland costs about eur.20,-.
This price is for people over 12 years of age. Senior Citizens
and children under 12 receive a discount.
You can deposit your luggage free of charge on the blue and white
luggage wagons on the dock. These will be loaded in Harlingen
onto the boat and unloaded at the dock on Vlieland. When you arrive
on Vlieland you can retrieve your luggage from these wagons.
A luggage transport service is available at the Vlieland dock.
They will transport your luggage for a small fee to the various
campsites, hotels or apartments on the island.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND TOURIST
You can find the tourist information office opposite the ferry
landing on Vlieland. The opening hours are Monday through Friday
from 09:00-17:00. The office is also open during the weekend and
every evening coinciding with the arrival of the ferry.
TRANSPORT ON THE ISLAND
When you arrive on Vlieland you can take a taxi or bus or rent
a bike to get to your destination.
Vlieland offers peace and tranquility with healthy sea-air, fresh
breezes, and a higher ratio of sunny days per year than mainland
Holland. It is a beautiful island unspoiled by traffic since only
residents are allowed to have automobiles on the island. You can
take advantage of this fact by enjoying the ample bicycling and
Vlieland offers 20 km. of beautiful quiet sandy beach. Its landscape
consists mainly of sand dunes alternated with deciduous and evergreen
forests. Due to the strong contrast of forest and dune areas the
island has a varied flora and fauna. The diverse birdlife on Vlieland
attracts interest from both home and abroad.
The Kroonspolders to the east of the Vliehors are bird sanctuaries.
During the breeding season the Forestry Commision (S.B.B.) offers
organised excursions in the polders. Outside the breeding season
the following nature monuments are freely accessible: the Meeuwenduinen
(380 hct) to the north of the Kroonspolders; Kooispleklid (165
hct), an overgrown dune area in the middle of the island; and
the Oude and the Nieuwe Koois (234 hct), two former duck decoys.
During the summer season there is a daily recreation program including
slideshow evenings, bridge tournaments and children's games. All
events are advertised on posters in the village. The village brass
band, the youth band or the traditional folk dancing group perform
in the village every Thursday evening.
THINGS TO SEE ON VLIELAND
VISITOR CENTER (BEZOEKERS CENTRUM)
You can find this center at 150 Dorpsstraat (Main street).
This center contains information and exhibits on Vlieland's flora
This is a historical and cultural museum in the Dorpsstraat (Main
street). Look for an old cannon in front of the museum.
Both the Visitors Center and the Tromps Huys organize excursions.
The Tromps Huys organizes cultural excursions while the visitors
center offers nature excursions. Schedules are posted at the respective
Vlieland offers many possibilities for indoor and outdoor sports.
It is perfect for swimming (whether in the ocean or the public
indoor swimming pool), walking, cycling, midgetgolf, tennis, horseback
riding, fishing, bowling, and windsurfing.
The lighthouse, located on top of the highest point of the island,
is open to the public. Here one has a beautiful view over Vlieland.
The lighthouse itself is 18 meters tall and sits 40 meters above
sea level. In good weather one can also see Terschelling and Texel,
Vlieland's neighbouring islands. Please ask the V.V.V. about opening
DAYTRIPS TO TEXEL OR TERSCHELLING
During the summer season it's possible to visit one of our neighbouring
islands. Please inquire at the TOURIST OFFICE for further information.
TRIPS ON THE VLIEHORS
The Vliehors at the western end of the island is unique to Holland
and Europe in general. During weekdays this large sandy terrain
is used as a military practice area, and is off-limits for tourists
and islanders. In the weekend it is permissible to visit the area.
The Vliehors resembles a small desert. The wind and sea keep its
bounderies in motion. Years ago it contained dunes and the village
of West-Vlieland. This village washed away into the sea early
in the 18th century.
During the summer season one can experience the Vliehors by taking
a tour on the Vliehors
Expres, a rebuilt army truck. Information about this memorable
tour is available at Maarten Nijman, Dorpsstraat 125, tel. 0562-451971,
Touring the island by bus is certainly worthwhile. One sees nearly
the entire island during the hour-long journey. The bus trip begins
in the village and travels via forests and dunes to the Posthuys
and back. Of course, one may step off the bus at any bus stop
and then take a leisurely walk back to the village. One can choose
to return on the road, through the dunes, or over the beach. Keep
in mind the fact that it is easier to walk with the wind in your
back than against the wind.
In the event of fire please dial 1-1-2 to report it as
quickly as possible. In case of forest or dune fire try covering
the flames with sand, keeping your own safety in mind. Please
alert passers-by as they can assist in obtaining help.
SWIMMING IN THE SEA
It is perilous and forbidden to swim at the harbour beach. Inflatable
tires, mattresses and the like are also banned.
1. Never bathe close to breakwaters, the
harbour pier or other obstacles. Stay at least 40 meters away
from these obstructions.
not venture further out than waist-deep in strong breakers. Keep
alert for unevenness in the sandybottom.
3. During off-shore wind, do
not go further out than waist-deep; the seaward current impedes
return. In an off- shore wind floating objects may drift out to
4. There are usually numerous
sand banks just off-shore which run parallel to the sandy dunes
on the beach. The channels between these banks are called "creeks".
The banks are interrrupted at irregular intervals by fast-flowing
rip currents. These rip currents run perpendicular to the coast
and form the connection between the creeks and the sea. Avoid
these fast flowing currents as much as possible, but especially
at out-going tides and during off-shore winds.
5. If you find yourself on
a sandbank with rising water immediately cross the creek in the
direction of the beach.
you do find yourself in a rip current and you are being pulled
out to sea, do not attempt to swim against the current. If you
are able to touch the bottom try to walk sideways to a bank. Keep
calm and try to attract the attention of bathers closeby or on
the beach. Shout for help. If you have lost contact with the ground,
try to keep afloat, preferably on your back. From guarded areas
you will be spotted easily enough and will only have to wait until
rescuers arrive. Do not pull on your rescuer; let him/her take
7. Children must never be allowed to bathe
or swim without adult supervision.
Several years ago a ship loaded with phosphorus, among other things,
stranded and sunk along our coast. Now and then pieces of phosphorus
still wash up on the beach. Phosphorus looks like a brownish-green
stone and resembles amber. When exposed to the air and slightly
warmed (for example, by holding in the hand or by keeping in a
pant pocket) the phosphorus can suddenly ignite and cause serious
Walking on Vlieland is very enjoyable. A good place to begin your
walk is the history-rich village of Oost- Vlieland. As soon as
you leave the village you become a guest of S.B.B. (Forestry Commission).
The S.B.B. is responsible for control and preservation of all
forested and open terrain on Vlieland outside of the village and
the Vliehors. The tourist office has maps of marked walking trails
available. Dogs are allowed on all trails but they must be leashed
west of the forest surrounding the lighthouse.
Vlieland is home to many birds who come to the island in summer
to breed and raise their young. spring and autumn also host a
large transient bird population. The birds are here to forage,
to rest and to replenish their fat stores before continuing their
migrations. These birds rest on the shores of the Wadden Zee,
in the polders, and during very high tides in the dunes. During
the breeding season from March 15th until August 15th certain
walking routes are off-limits to the public, so that the various
bird species can hatch their eggs and raise their young in peace.
From August 15th until March 15th all walking trails are accessible.
Vlieland boasts an extensive network of bike paths. These paths,
paved with crushed sea shells, offer a splendid opportunity to
reach many interesting places on the island. The forest surrounding
Oost-Vlieland is criss-crossed by bike paths. On an exploring
expedition one can encounter all the varied vegetation evident
on Vlieland. The woods are comprised predominately of Austrian
and Corsican pinetrees. Spruce firs and alders have been planted
in the wetter parts of the forest. Deciduous trees such as oak,
birch, alder and maple give the forest an attractive, varied look.
Outside the forest most of the cycle paths run through the dunes.
Certain stretches can be rather steep, so sometimes it is necessary
to put some effort into one's cycling! Cycling down the dunes
is a lot easier. Sometimes it goes too easy and too fast, so take
care and spare a thought for your fellow cyclist.
From the tops of the dunes one has a marvelous view over the dune
valleys and forests at Lange Paal, Oude Kooi, Nieuwe Kooi and
Bomenland. Vlieland's highest dune is the Vuurboetsduin, which
houses the lighthouse. You can climb the Vuurtorenduin and from
there enjoy a magnificent view over the island. From the top of
the dune one has a bird's eye view of the picturesque village.
It is possible to see Terschelling and sometimes even Harlingen
in clear weather. The Vuurboetsduin rises 45 meters above sea
level and is the highest dune in the Wadden area. Cycling west
out of the Dorpsstraat, one automatically comes onto the Postweg,
which leads to "het Posthuys" at the other end of the
island. On the way it's worthwhile visiting the "Nieuwe Eendenkooi",
and the "Oude-Eendenkooi". The "Oude Eendenkooi"
is only accessible outside the breeding season. These duck-decoys
are no longer used as such, but are popular with the birds as
resting and drinking places. A few kilometers further one comes
to "Bomenland," Vlieland's oldest forest. In 1906, R.W.S.(Ministry
for Public Works) began cultivating trees here. At the edge of
"Bomenland", one findes the "Drenkelingengraf"
("Drowned Mens' Grave") on the left-hand side of the
road. In the past stranded seafarers with infectious diseases
were buried here, since they were not allowed burial in the local
The following place of interest is "het Posthuys," a
cafe and restaurant. The Posthuys was originally used for transfering
of mail to and from Amsterdam via Texel.
This postal service was established circa 1843 by Amsterdam for
the benefit of merchant and war ships, most of which were departing
from or en route to Amsterdam.
The road ends 3 kilometers beyond the Posthuys at the Calvary
Shooting Range. The "Kroonspolders" lie to the south
of the road and the "Meeuwenduinen" to the north. These
are unique nature preserves. The "Meeuwenduinen" as
a breeding area is not accessible until July 15th and the "Kroonspolders,"
a resting place for birds, are closed areas until mid September.
The return route involves travelling back on the same road as
far as the Posthuys. Here one can turn left on to the road leading
to the sea shell path which parallels the sea dunes on the north
side of the island. This path runs eastward and ends close to
"Hotel Seeduyn." Turning left onto the red brick road,
which is called the Badweg, brings one to one of Vlieland's most
popular beaches which lies adjacent to hotel Seeduyn. Travelling
the Badweg in the opposite direction (south) leads one back to
Once back in the village one
can take a leisurely walk along the Dorpsstraat and experience
the atmosphere of this rustic village. Here one can find everthing
from restaurants to boutiques and markets.
THE FORESTRY COMMISSION (STAATSBOSBEHEER)
8899 BN Vlieland
Openings hours: On weekdays from 8:30-9:30 am
It is forbidden to let dogs run unleashed in any forest or dune,
with the exception of the forest and dune to the north of the
Here your dog is allowed to run freely only if he is under control.
On the beach, he can also run freely, but when you go back over
the dunes he has to be on a leash.
BIRD-WATCHING EXCURSIONS IN
Just as in other years the S.B.B. is organising bird watching
excursions for this coming season. The duration of the excursion
is approximately 1 1/2 hours, and tour through bird-breeding terrain.
Groups should book in advance with S.B.B. Individuals who wish
to join an excursion can obtain a ticket at the counter in the
PLACES OF INTEREST
1. DE NOORDOOSTHOEK
(The North-East corner)
This is known to the "real"
Vlielander as the "Noordestoek"; this is the most north-eastern
point of the island.
2. DE FORTWEG
(The Fort Road)
This road runs from the harbour
to the Noordoosthoek-strand (North-east corner beach). The name
Fort Road is derived from "the Fort," since there are
still a few bunkers remaining from the First and Second World
3. HET DORP
The island of Vlieland has only one village: Oost-Vlieland, with
approximately 1100 residents.
The village contains 39 buildings classified as monuments. These
have been carefully
rennovated to maintain the mainstreet in its original state.
4. HET VUURBOETSDUIN
(The fuelshed dune)
The highest dune on the island
(40 m) is home to Vlieland's lighthouse. Up until 1836 the lighthouse
burned coal to guide the ships safely into harbour. The shed which
contained the fuel was called the vuurboet (fuelshed). Hence the
name Vuurboetsduin. Various paths lead to the top of this dune,
and once there, one has a magnificent view over both the Wadden
and the North Seas, in addition to the village of East Vlieland.
5. HET KOOISPLEKLID
This tall dune is situated
west of the forest that surrounds the lighthouse dune. The low
valley in between is called Kooisplek. Further to the west of
Kooispleklid is the cranberry-bog, where cranberries grow and
can be picked in the autumn.
6. DE LANGE PAAL
(The tall Pole)
One finds the Lange Paal
at the bend in the road leading to the Posthuys. One first catches
sight of the Lange Paal house. This name dates back to the time
when there was a tall pole (lange paal) used by the public Works
for taking bearings on sea. The forest here was planted in the
early 1930's. At the same time the forestry commission established
a camping site. The distance from the village to the Lange Paal
is approximately 3 kms.
7. DE NIEUWE KOOI
(The new Duck Decoy)
This is also a small cultivated
forest with a pond in the middle. This was supposed to have been
a duck decoy, but was never completed as such.
8. HET PAD VAN TWINTIG
(Path number twenty)
This is a broad shell path
which lies approximately in the middle of the island and runs
from the Wadden Sea side to the North Sea side (near "dam
20", breakwater nr. 20). The area to the west of this path
is not accessible in the breeding season (see signs).
9. OUDE KOOI
(Old Duck Decoy)
This is the oldest section
of forest on Vlieland and is a duck decoy which dates back to
1898. Until the Second World War wild ducks were caught here.
The old duck-decoy is recognizable as the fourth area of forest
seen west of the village.
Also known by Vlielanders as
Bol van Dooie (Hill of Death). This is the area of high land in
the fifth wooded area west of the village, which is called "Bomenland"
(treeland). The name dodemansbol refers to the ship which long
ago was wrecked on our beach to the north of this spot. The ship
was full of people with an infectious disease, and they were not
allowed to come to the village before they had recovered. Those
who died were buried on the spot.
(Grave of shipwrecked people)
Here lie the remains of the
above mentioned. These remains were unearthed by workmen constructing
the road through Dodemansbol, and reburied here.
The inscription reads: "Here lie the ashes of days gone by,
put in a wooden box. Observe respect for this resting place."
This grave lies along the roadside near the beginning of Bomenland
(Land of trees)
In 1906 this area was cultivated
with a variety of pine and fir trees. The firs and the older pines
are now nearing the end of their lifetime and are being replaced
by deciduous trees. The S.B.B. has mapped out a walking route
through the "land of trees."
13. HET PAD VAN ZES
(Path number six)
This paved road runs from the
Posthuys over the narrowest part of the island to the North sea
crossing at the dune by dam number 6. A sea-shell covered bike
path runs from here parallel to the North sea beach, just inside
the outer dunes, back to the village. This sea-shell path also
connects to the Postweg at the Pad van Twintig and at the Lange
14. DE POSTWEG
The Postweg road runs close
to the south shore of the island from the village to the extreme
west of the island. The name dates back to the (pre-ferry) days
when mail was carried by horse and carriage over this road. This
mail service, created in the 17th century for the benefit of warships
and East India merchant ships harboring on the Vlierede, involved
transporting post via Den Hleder, Texel, and the Vliehors to the
village of Oost-Vlieland. In this manner the merchant and military
fleets could maintain contact with their home ports in Amsterdam
and the Zuiderzee as long as possible, while still sheltering
off Vlieland to await better winds, crew exchanges, or last minute
instructions. The Zuiderzee is now known as the IJsselmeer.
15. HET POSTHUYS
The Posthuys was the residence
of the postman who transported the mail from the villages' horse
and carriage over the Vliehors to a boat which carried it to Texel
16. DE KROONSPOLDERS
This is a nature preserve consisting
of four polders which were reclaimed from the sea in the years
1900-1930. The supervisor of the ministry of Public Works who
took the initiative and supervised the reclamation was named Kroon.
The area now serves as a safe refuge for approximately 50 varieties
of birds which breed and feed as well as stay during high tides
17. DE MEEUWENDUINEN
(The Sea-gull dunes)
This is one of Vlieland's nature
preservation areas. This large dune area lies between the North
Sea dunes and the Kroon's polders, where in spring many hundreds
of sea-gulls breed and raise their young.
18. HET REDDINGSBOOTPAD
(The lifeboat path)
This is the last path with
access to the North Sea beach. In the past, the life-boat shed
nearby the Posthuys housed a life boat which was pulled along
this path to the sea by horse. From here the Vliehors was within
19. KAMP DE VLIEHORS
(The cavalry shooting-range)
In the past these army barracks were made up of tents; today they
consist of modern buildings. Military exercises take place a few
days a week on the Vliehors, except May 1st until September 1st,and
during the autumn and Christmas holidays.
20. DE VLIEHORS
The Vliehors covers a large
area of the island. It is a massive sand area which lies completely
under water during north-west storms and spring tides. It once
contained many dunes and the village of West-Vlieland, which,
was unfortunately washed away by the sea in the early 18th century.
The Vliehors is only accessible during the weekends. During weekdays
it is used for target practice excersises by NATO and the Royal
21. BELVEDERE / SJOUWERMANSBOL
A look-out post has been erected
on the highest dune in the eastern forest area, close to the yacht
harbour. From here one has a magnificent view over the eastern
point of the island. It's name, "Sjouwermansbol," dates
back to the time when pilots and dockers (sjouwerman) looked out
here for ships coming in from the sea.
--BEACH AND SEA
Vlieland is a Wadden island.
The southern half of the island borders on the Wadden sea, while
the whole northern side with dunes and the beach borders the North
This lengthy beach measures approximately 20 kms. In summertime
the beach is, of course, popular with most tourists. On a summer's
day you will find people over the whole length of the beach, sunbathing,
swimming, walking and enjoying the sea .... and sun.
The beach has much more to offer than the above mentioned activities.
Take a look at the surprising and sometimes richly colourful collection
of shells or at the often amazing objects which get washed up
on the beach. The many sea gulls and other sea birds on the beach
are a familiar sight.You will see them searching for food on the
breakwaters and then flying noisily away if their peace is disturbed
by a fisherman.
The breakwaters serve to preserve the beach and dunes. Without
them the sea would wash away the beach and dunes. Despite the
presence of the breakwaters, a storm sometimes sweeps away huge
pieces of dunes, particularly along the most western and eastern
parts of the northern coast.
On Vlieland the Rijkswaterstaat (Ministry of Public Works.) is
responsible for the supervision and up-keep of the beach and dunes.
This often involves an enormous amount of work.