Ameland, the pearl of the "Wadden" sea is reached by boat over this shallow sea. One boattour will take place through "geulen" and "prielen", the natural canals that are at hightide invisible at the bottom of the sea. The island is formed by a sandbank that got surfaced and became a dune. In ancient times this dune reached all along the coasts of The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, but was broken through on several places by the rising sealevel, creating the "Wadden" sea behind them. This sea is one of the richest natural environments on earth, holding an amazing amount of variation in plants and especially animals. Intensively you can experience this, by going "wadlopen" (Wad-walking), a tour on the bottom of the sea. The "Wadden" sea is before all an important breedingground for both fish and birds, as well as a food source for these and more living creatures.
In the recreational area "Vleyen" there is a small pool that is fenced of by wooden poles. This is the "holy water" and it used to be a pool that worshipped the Frysian God Forsite, God of justice. Even the cattle that drank from this pool became holy and were untouchable. In the early medieval times (698) the missionary monch Willibrord landed during a storm on Ameland after trying to christianise the Danes (which failed). He got two friends and baptised them ... in this pool. That immedtiately made the Amelanders furious and the brought them to the Frysian king Rabod. One of the friends was killed for this and Willibrord plus the remaining friend were send away (to Utrecht, which was the bisdom town then. Later Willibrord would return to try to Christianise the Frysians and find his death at Dokkum. The pool you see here is now called the "Willibrordus-tobbe" (tobbe is something like "bath-tub".
Do visit the east part of the island, which can be reached by foot, bike or with a special tractor.
It is a nature reserve and it s just so beautiful! and peaceful!
If you go by the tractor it will be a 2,5 hours outing (approx).
Over the beach the driver will take you to the so called "Oerd".
After arrival the driver will take you for a walk and tell you about the things you see.
He will also take you up the "Oerdblinkert", a high dune.
People on Ameland more and more are making their villages even more special then they already are. Gardens are neat and pretty and in the right season full of flowers and decorative things (varieting from pertty pots to windmills, dwarfs and little ponds with fountains. Walking around the villages is truely a joy and especially off season (so without the mass tourism) something that will load your battery up to high voltage. Hollum and Nes are total must sees on Ameland, so don;t rush by.
In Friesland they are numerous, the traditional top facade at buildings, that represent two graceful swans, flanking a pointy shaped pole on a triangle top part of the front and backroof. Especially farms and their surroundings barns have them. Ameland was long time a independant island and still has not much in common with Friesland. In Hollum however few farms have taken this graceful habbit from the Frysians, which resulted in a few beautiful farmhouse facades.
Of course fishing was one of the cornerstones of the Amelander society. Fish was a main foodgroup and daily to be found on the menu. Traditionaly fishermen brought the fish ashore at the "South West" and from there it was brought in baskets to this place in Hollum. One of the fishermen went to the village-announcer, that rang the bell shouting "Fish at the "O'slach" ... this was the Amelander dialect word for "Afslag" (trading place). Many speeded to the fishmarket to get their share. Fishermen came from a wide area to sell their fish on Ameland as it is even known that Danish fishermen found here a good place to sell their catch. It's however now around 60 years ago that the last time this procedure was done.
In Hollum another remarkable building on the skyline is the windmill. It is one of only two mills that survive the centuries on Ameland, where many windmills used to be. The other one is in Nes. Hollum's windmill bares the wonderful name "Verwachting", which is Dutch for "Expectation". It is since a decade again fully operational and grinds grane for the Amelander backeries.
Hollum has in square meters the most public beaches from Ameland. It is surrounded from two sides with beaches that sometimes reach wideness from over 1-2 kilometers. On Hollum's South-Western side the beaches are meeting the "Wadden" sea and relatively narrow. Here are various facilities to start sailing with boats variating from "Valkjes" (Falcons) to Catamarans. On the West-end of the island are beaches that are watching over the "in/outlet" between the North and "Wadden" sea and on the other side of the water the most Eastern shores of Terschelling. With in and outgoing tides the current in this in/outlet can be very strong, so beware! North of Hollum enormous wide beaches stretch out behind the "Langeduinen" reservate.
From the sea, the lighthouse of Hollum can be seen from a huge distance away. It's 3 times blinking light each 15 second is a guiding light for North sea traffic and the Hollum lighthouse is the highest in it's kind of the Dutch and German "Wadden" islands. With 58 meters above the middle level (term) and a diameter variating from 9,2 (bottom) towards 4 meters (top platform) it is a remarkable building made of iron. This was done in 1880 and after the architecture of Q. Harder. The 13 levels are connected by 236 steps and froim above you have a magnificent sight over Hollum, Ameland, the Northsea and towards Terschelling. The brightness of the light has been incredably improved since 1880. To show this:
1881 petroleum flames - 24.000 candles
1911 paraphine glow bulbs - 120.000 candles
1923 electric glow bulbs - 307.000 candles
1952 group sparkling light - 4.400.000 candles
North of Hollum is an amazing dune reservate that stretches out over half of the islands Western surface. Kiloemeters after kilometers of sandy hills that are grown over with bushes, some small trees, plants and above all "helm" grass. This special grass helps the dunes to be strong as their roots go relatively deep and their stem keeps the sand steady. The area has numerous walking paths and is an amazing place of silence. For those who seek complete and utter isolation, a walk here will bring almost paradise. Behind the dunes an enormous wide beach is waiting. It is here that the island's lost village "Sier" is slowly appearing again (see danger-tips).
On the 10th of November 1799 a great sailingship stranded during a storm on the sandbanks North-West of Ameland. "De Valk" (the falcon) was a military fregat that had 444 souls aboard. The conditions were terrible as the ships was ripped apart on the sandbank while the wind and the waves were bashing onto it. Despite efforts of rescueing as many as possible, only 25 people survived this shipwrecking. Among the 419 victims were also 265 British fusiliers of the 23th Royal Welsh regiment.
Rough winds blow over the island of Ameland. There is a storm going on that terrifies even the sailors of this proud whaling island. It's 14th of August 1979 and suddenly a mayday-signal arrives at the rescueing station at Hollum. The "Windspiel 4" is in troubles and immediately the horses are put in front of the Ambraham Fock lifeboat to drive to sea. The waves are blown up high and the horses pul and pull, being blazed by wind and water. One by one they fall down and when the boat is afloat and speeding to the rescue, the tole is heavier then ever. Eight out of ten horses have drowned in the waves and in their duty to safe men. At the SouthWestern beach of Holum a grave memorial marks the brave eight horses ... that gave their life to save the sailors.
The village Hollum used to have the rescuing service that housed in the hall which is now turned into the Abraham Fock Museum. The Abraham Fock was a lifeboat that became quite famous within the "Wadden" sea area as for their many saving actions and efficient way of working. Also at the museum there is the old top part of the lighthouse of Hollum and of course it tells you all about the rescues that have been done over the past several centuries. In summertime the alarm bell rings sometimes, this time it is not because of a ship is sinking, but ... ten horses will pull out the rescue boat again ... this time to demonstrate how it was done in the old days to the tourists.
In The Netherlands there are a wide range of reformations within the christian believes. We have Lutherian, Nederlands hervormd, gereformeerd (both actually meaning "Dutch reformed" and Calvinism as some main protestant directions. They all have their own churches and their own way of interpreting the bible (and lets give in to this, the bible can be interpreted in many many ways!). In Hollum the third church of the village is the "Gereformeerde".
The old school in Nes is a significant building that is in the centre of the village. Now-a-days it is a rather different place, towards the times when teachers were giving strict lessons to children that listened carefully. Here are always some changing exhibitions, but a local photographer and artist are always present in the presented art items. They even have a website for those who want a glimps of their work.