According to Slang Encyclopedia, Texel is the largest island of the Dutch Wadden Islands. Texel is the only Wadden island that belongs to the province of North Holland, if you ignore the uninhabited island of Noorderhaaks. It is striking that the name Texel is normally pronounced as ‘Tessel’, but that the letter ‘x’ of Texel is pronounced as ‘ks’ in foreign spoken texts on the island. Although Texel politically belongs to North Holland, you can see in various ways that the island has its own folklore and culture. In that respect you see more influences from the other Wadden Islands. On an annual basis, Texel receives almost a million visitors. This considerable number is partly due to the affordable and efficient ferry connection that TESO maintains between Den Helder and ‘t Horntje. More than three quarters of the tourists spend the night on Texel and about a quarter make a day trip out of it. Although the island certainly deserves a longer stay, you can discover quite a few highlights of Texel in one day. You will then have to make choices.
The well-oiled marketing machine of the VVV Texel ensures that the strengths and unique qualities of Texel as a holiday destination are promoted in an excellent way. Texel is primarily seen as a place where nature shows its most beautiful side. Think of dunes and beaches that are among the most beautiful in the Netherlands, huge amounts of birds and rich vegetation that shows different faces. Texel is very popular among birdwatchers because of the many bird species. But beach lovers, hikers and recreational cyclists will also get their money’s worth on Texel.
Top 10 sights of Texel
#1. Texel residents
More Texel residents than Texel residents live on the island of Texel. This seems like a very strange sentence. The difference is in the first letter. If you write it with a capital letter, you are talking about people who live on Texel. A Texel that starts with a small letter is a sheep. This breed of sheep is characteristic of the island. By crossing the original Texel sheep with some English breeds, a new stable breed has been created that has a number of excellent characteristics. Characteristic are the stocky build with a wider head. This is especially noticeable with the rams that can reach a weight of no less than 90 kilos. You can see the sheep in a large number of places on Texel. You get the best picture when they are on a dike.
#2. The lighthouse
The icon of Texel, as the Eierland lighthouse is also called. This will partly be due to the way in which the bright red color of the lighthouse contrasts with its surroundings: sandy beach, light green vegetation of the dunes and often a blue sky. Because according to the meteorologists, the island has almost ten percent more hours of sunshine than the average in the Netherlands. The lighthouse of Texel is therefore very photogenic as well as essential. The need for the lighthouse is evident from the number that perished in the treacherous waters around Texel until the lighthouse was built. The original lighthouse was completed in 1864. After heavy damage during the Second World War, a new wall was built around the tower in 1948 and a new superstructure was installed. This is clearly visible when you visit the Texel lighthouse. Because during the summer season you can climb the first six of the eight floors every day. As soon as you are on the sixth floor you can enjoy a great view of Texel. In good weather you can easily see Den Helder and Vlieland.
#3. Museum Cape Skil
You can find out everything about life on and on the sea around Texel in Museum Kaap Skil. This museum, located in the village of Oudeschild, used to be called the Maritime & Jutters Museum. The museum has a collection of maritime and Texel objects dating from the past four centuries. An important part of this are the archaeological diving finds that are exhibited in the main building. An absolute must is the model of Texel in the basement of the building. You can request information from a number of ships on the model via digital screens.
The open-air museum forms a fairly large part of Museum Kaap Skil. Here you can visit traditional fishermen’s houses and see how the fishermen and their families used to live on Texel. The smithy, the bakery, the beachcombing and the grain warehouses are other parts of the open-air museum. De Traanroeier is a corn mill that you can admire from the inside. He originally comes from Zaandam and was moved to Oudeschild in 1902.
The dunes are important to Texel in many ways. Most importantly, of course, they protect the island from wind and water. Furthermore, the dunes of Texel form an important nature reserve where you can admire different forms of dune vegetation and which form the habitat of various animal species. With a bit of luck you can spot seals along the waterfront. You can also see hares, rabbits, ermines and many types of birds here. The dunes were granted national park status in 2002. The recognition of the importance of the dunes ensures that there will be no room in the 43 square kilometer Duinen van Texel National Park for buildings that could disturb nature.
Texel has 7 villages, each with its own character. This variety ensures that every kind of tourist will find his own place on the island. As far as we are concerned, Oosterend is the most beautiful village on Texel. The name already reveals that this town with more than a thousand inhabitants is located on the eastern side of the island and should actually be at the end of the east. That was true. Oosterend is actually a port town until silting up took away this function in the nineteenth century. The fishermen of Oosterend now have their ships in the harbor of Oudeschild. Oosterend is now a cute village where you can see many traditional houses.
Discover the marine life of the Wadden Sea and the North Sea in Ecomare. Here you dive into the world of the sea and its inhabitants. For many, the seals are the highlight of a visit to Ecomare. These adorable mammals are cared for here. Some of the seals stay here permanently. Ecomare is a nature museum that not only wants to introduce you to life in and around the sea, but also wants to make visitors aware of the vulnerability of this wonderful world. Hopefully, the educational character of Ecomare will contribute somewhat to making the choices that we as humans can make. We are partly responsible for the welfare of the marine animals.
Another village on Texel that you should not miss is Oudeschild. This is now the fishing village of Texel. The Texel North Sea cutters depart from the harbor to fish mainly for shrimp. As a tourist you can sail along during the shrimp fishing. Both the TX10 Emmie and the TX20 Walrus regularly sail out for a round trip. Fishing is an important part of that. The shrimps caught during the boat trip are cooked on site. You can then peel and taste them yourself. You won’t have fresher shrimp in your life.
Oudeschild itself is also worth a visit. Close to the harbor you can visit the Maritime Museum Kaap Skil. You should also definitely see the De Ruyterstraat. On this street are numerous houses with old facades and an old church. A little further in the village is the photogenic Zeemanskerk, which is particularly striking because of the combination of white plastered walls with a green roof ridge.
#8. Texel Beer Brewery
The people of Texel are good at making optimal use of what the island has to offer. The sheep provide meat, milk (and therefore cheese) and lots of wool. This wool is used, among other things, in the famous Texel duvets. Furthermore, various sheepskin products are made. A product that has not been made on Texel for very long is beer. The Texelse Bierbrouwerij has been brewing various beers since 1999. These beers match the character of the island and are made from local raw materials as far as possible. The dark beer Skuumkoppe is the most famous of the Texel beers.
You can drink the beers from the Texelse Bierbrouwerij in almost every catering establishment on Texel. You can get to know this brewery even better by visiting the brewery. During the ‘Texels Experience’ you will get to know the Texelse Bierbrouwerij, the beers and the brewing process. The tour ends in the Tasting Room, where you can taste different Texel beers in combination with matching snacks.
The Pines are an important part of the Duinen van Texel National Park. This Texel forest was largely planted in the 20th century. Especially with pines. That explains the name of this forest. The forest area is a welcome change from the mainly open plains that you see a lot on Texel. The forest ensures diversity in flora and therefore also within the fauna on Texel. The trees attract new breeding birds that you would otherwise hardly see on Texel. You can walk through the woods. Another way to admire De Dennen is from the watchtower on the Fonteinsnol. This wooden watchtower offers you a unique view over the treetops of De Dennen.
#10. Mill The North
If you make a tour of Texel by car, there will be several places that will attract your attention in one way or another. There is one that we want to highlight and that is the view of Het Noorden. This mill is located north of the village of Oosterend, hence the name. It is the view from the Lancasterdijk that deserves a place in the top 10 sights of Texel for us. It is mainly the overall picture that does it for him: the polder mill surrounded by a typical Texel landscape. The best times to photograph Het Noorden are in the morning with the light in the back or towards the end of the day when the sun is slanted behind the windmill and your beautiful photos s with backlighting and the sun shining on the wet areas around the windmill. If you park the car on the dike, you can walk to the mill. It cannot be visited inside.