De Waal – the smallest village on the island
De Waal is by far the smallest village of the island, more or less existing of one street and with less than 100 houses. This street ‘Hogereind’ is lined with charming old houses, lot of them were former ‘stolp’ farmhouses, reminding the agriculture past of the village.
This road - what a pity of all these modern cars - leads to the church of De Waal. Originally a tuff church, but replaced by a brick one, which was completely destroyed in World War II. The present church was built in 1952 and became its tower about ten years later with a typical saddle roof. The organ in the church was part of the Dutch entry for the Expo in Brussel in 1958 (ask the Tourist Information Centre about organ concerts).
De Waal was built on the boulder of a clay emergence and just behind the church the difference in height between the village and the surrounding polder is clearly visible. Here is also one of the oldest roads of Texel: ‘De Bomendiek’, most probably a former dam.
Although quite small De Waal has a museum: Cultural History Museum of Texel. See for opening hours and admission fees: http://www.cultuurmuseumtexel.nl/informatie.htm
Oosterend – the most authentic village
Although the second largest village on Texel it was for us the most authentic. ‘Strend’ - as the inhabitants call their hometown - is dominated by the impressive Maartenskerk (St. Martin’s Church), which is the oldest church of Texel. The oldest parts are being built in the 11th century. The church has a remarkable wooden partition with hundreds of carved ‘house signs’ (the interior of this church is open for visitors during July and August on Wednesday afternoon from 1.30-3.30 pm.).
But it is very pleasant to walk around the church and along the narrow roads with a lot of beautifully restored (small) houses, the local shops and having a lunch on the terrace (with view of the church) of ‘Eetcafé De Kroonprins’.
On the other side of the church square stands a small sculpture of three fishermen, exchanging bits of news and gossips on a spot called ‘het beursie’. They used to do the same in former days on the same spot. Even today most of the Northsea fishermen of Texel are living in Oosterend.
Polder Het Noorden is situated a couple of km’s north of Oosterend and has a beautiful windmill.
Oudeschild – a lot to offer
Oudeschild is dating back to the 17th century. In the early days ships of the famous Dutch East India Company (VOC) often were waiting at the Roadstead of Texel, nearby Oudeschild, to load drinking water from wells in the inland of Texel. The Barrels of water were transported through the ‘Schiltsloot’, which gave the name to the village.
Nowadays Oudeschild is the fishing harbour of Texel, but it has also a big marina for yachts and sailing ships Just behind the impressive dike of the ‘Waddensea’ lies the Maritime and Beachcombers Museum, an in- and outside the museum, which shows all about Texel and the sea. At the side of the museum stands also a windmill, called the ‘Traanroeier’ (www.texelsmaritiem.nl).
Oudeschild is a charming village; nice to walk around, see the small houses and the Sailor’s Church, built between 1648 and 1650 (open for visitors from June until 1st September on Friday from 2.00 until 5.00 pm). Finish your walk at the harbour in Café Restaurant Havenzicht, built on and in the Waddenseadike, with great views of the harbour.
Just south of Oudeschild lies fortress ‘De Schans’, constructed in 1574 to protect the ‘Marsdiep’ for Spanish ships during the Eighty Years War. A little bit further is the Russian’s Cemetery with the Georgian victims of their uprising in 1945. Both sights can be visited.
De Koog – not very inviting during off season
It is hardly to believe, but long times ago the village of De Koog was a fishing village with access to the North Sea. But in the 16th century the decline as a fishing village started and many of the inhabitants fled to other places on Texel. In 1908 there were just 11 houses left, when the first hotel was opened.
Dating back to these old days (built in 1415) is the Reformed Church with its remarkable wooden bell tower.
From that moment on De Koog developed rapidly as a sea side resort and nowadays it is by far the most important touristic destination on the island. It has lots of hotels, bed & breakfasts, holiday homes, camp sites etc. Holidaymakers will find the nice beaches just two lines of dunes away from the village.
The main street (Dorpsstraat) is lined with bars, cafés, restaurants and some more or less ‘hidden’ shops. During our visit (February) the centre looked liked a ghost town; most of the shops were closed and we hardly could find a café for a cup of coffee.
De Cocksdorp – most northern village
De Cocksdorp is not only the most northern village of Texel, it is also the youngest village of the island founded in 1835, situated nearby a small harbour where the Roggesloot flowed into the sea. Originally the village was located on the island of Eierland, which was connected by a dike with the island of Texel.
De Cocksdorp does have a Reformed Church dating back to 1841 with a nice carved pulpit (open for visitors from mid May until mid September open on Monday 1.30-4.30pm, Tuesday until Thursday 10.30am - 4.30pm).
The village is located close to dunes and beaches and therefore an important touristic destination. The beautiful red coloured lighthouse of Texel lies just north of De Cocksdorp. The airport of Texel - south of the village in the polder Eijerland - has also an Aviation Museum.
Nearby the airport is an Art Gallery with a ‘Moai Statue’ in front of the old school building. Some brochures/people tell that it is an original statue from Easter Island, but having visited Easter Island by myself I don’t believe this story. It still remains interesting to take a look.
During spring De Cocksdorp is surrounded by flowering bulb fields.
Den Burg – strolling through Texel’s ‘capital’
Den Burg is a quite old village and was already inhabited in the 7th century. In 1345/46 the town (‘fortress’) got new walls and even nowadays the ring pattern of the streets in the centre reminds to these old days. The most remarkable landmark is the Reformed Church in the middle of the town.
One of the oldest houses of the village (1599) houses the so called ‘Oudheidkamer’, a small museum with a collection of antiques, artefacts and traditional costumes. ‘Het Schoutenhuys’ is another old gabled house; this is part of ‘Hotel De Lindeboom’
Den Burg is by far the biggest village on the island and more than the half (about 7000) of the people of Texel are living here. It has a nice shopping centre and we enjoyed strolling around in the local owned shops. The Groeneplaats is the central square with every Monday morning a market. One side of this square is dominated by an awful modern town hall.
Although the biggest it is also the least touristic village of Texel with just a couple of hotels and restaurants.
Perhaps the best place to relax or having a drink or lunch is the terrace of ‘Hotel De Lindeboom’ at the Groeneplaats. Even in February we enjoyed the sun and Texel’s street life.
Texel – made for biking
The island of Texel seems to be made for bike trips (as many parts of the Netherlands). It is as flat as a pancake, although there are some ‘hilly’ parts with the dunes and an area called ‘De Hooge Berg’ (the High Mountain) southeast of Den Burg. Texel has more than 135 km’s bike paths and many of the country roads are very quiet and another option for a bike trip. The whole island isn’t too big and you always find a café for a rest and a drink.
We made a lovely trip with Den Burg as a starting point and heading to the small village of Den Hoorn through polder scenery with typical 'stolp' farmhouses and with lots and lots of crocus flowers along the road. Den Hoorn is ‘famous’ for its white church, dating back to 1425 (open in summer on Thursdays from 2.00 to 4.00 pm). After visiting the viewing point on top of Loodmansduin - with great views of the dunes and the polders - we biked through the dunes and the pine forests of ‘De Dennen’ to the beach at ‘Westerslag’.
Along dune valleys, heathland and meadows we reached our last (coffee)stop in the village of De Koog, before going back to our hotel in Den Burg.
This bike trip was about 30 km’s long and we made it in an easy pace in an afternoon, exploring both parts of Texel: the dunes and the polders. Visit the Tourist Information Centre and asked for cycling routes on the island or just buy a map and make your own choice.
You can bring your own bike or just rent one at your accommodation or in one of the many bike rental shops on the island. Also possible as a daytrip from the mainland: just park your car in Den Helder, take the ferry, rent a bike at the ferry harbour and enjoy the special feeling of being on the island of Texel.
maritiem and beachcombers museum
a very divers museum. There are old houses re-build and decorated in former days. My mother-in-law recognized a lot from her childhood
There is lot of information about boats, and the navy. A lot activity for children. And of course the beachcomber-part, the most strange things they have found on the beach you can find it here.
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
walk across mud flats
Twice a day big parts of the wadden stand clear of the water. At this low tide you can make a walk over the Dutch wadden, with a guide. Take on your oldest shoes, because after the walk you can throw them away. It can be very heavy, when your feets are sinking deep in the mud.
- National/State Park
- Hiking and Walking
Purple in the dunes
Between De Cocksdorp and De Koog, you will see a wonderful dunes landscape covered by purple heather (at least in August ;-). It was the fist time I saw such a purple landscape and it impressed me a lot! I did not stop to take pictures! And my friend Anik choosed very wel the color of her t-shirt!
De Koog - de kerk
De koog seemed to me to be the most touristic village of the island with a cute littke shopping street with all the summer goods for the childen etc...The houses
painted in different colors and the chuch gave me the impression to be somewhere in Norway! I loved the wooden houses everywhere ;-)
The port of Oudeschild is located on the Waddenzee-side of the island. In and around the village there are several historical elements from the days of the Dutch East India Company and a nice mill. This side of the island is protected by a dike on which you can ride the bike if you are not afraid of the wind ;-)
This lighthouse is in the most nothern part of the island, near the Cocksdorp, and the place where to catch a boat to go to the next island : Vlieland. I enjoyed there very much the beach where we had our lunch ;-)
Like in Scotland
In the south Part of Texel, on a road going from Den Hoorn til the west coast, you will cross a landscape that looks a bit like scotland with green hills, lakes and scottisch cows!!!!! And if you are lucky as we were, you will maybe meet a 'bagpipe' playing, inspired by the landscape and the atmosphere!
get on a bicycle
explore their beautiful bike paths and cover more ground in less time. it is like a makeshift hobbiton. while riding our bicycle it started to sprinkle so be sure to bring a light jacket to cover up some. also bring a camera to cature the surroudings and maybe even some snacks.
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