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 except Vlieland.


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.


FERRYTICKETS

Tickets can be purchased at the Doeksen Office in the ferry terminal in Harlingen, or at website www.doeksen.nl. The fare of a  return ticket to Vlieland is about eur. 20,-. This price is for people over 12 years of age. Senior Citizens and children under 12 receive a discount.


LUGGAGE

You can deposit your luggage free of charge on the blue and white luggage trolleys 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 again.

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 INFORMATION?

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.

ALMOST CAR-FREE

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 walking routes.

NATURAL BEAUTY

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.

EVENTS

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 and fauna.

TROMPS HUYS

This is a historical and cultural museum in the Dorpsstraat (Main street). Look for an old cannon in front of the museum.

EXCURSIONS

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 centers.

SPORT ACTIVITIES

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.


LIGHTHOUSE

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 hours.


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, - www.vliehorsexpres.nl


BUS TRIP

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.


FIRE

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.


WALKING

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


CYCLING

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 cemetery.

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 the village.

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.


DOGS

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 village.

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 BREEDING AREAS

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 Visitors Center.

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 Sea.

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.


Have a nice stay on Vlieland!