Dunes of Texel National Park by Night
Nature on Texel is well worth a visit by night. Enjoy the impressive starry sky, mysterious sounds, wonderful smells, and perhaps even the luminescent waves of the Wadden Sea, which is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Waddenzee. Your senses work differently when it’s dark; you hear and smell much more acutely all of a sudden. Let your eyes get used to the dark and you’ll quickly find you may not always need a flashlight.
Written by Anna Sprenkeling, Forest Ranger at Dunes of Texel Public National Park.
When the sky is clear, you can see the Milky Way as a wide strip that lights up the sky. Admire the stars, planets, and perhaps even meteorites, the ‘falling stars’ that streak along the dark horizon. Because the earth turns around the sun just like the other planets and the moon around the earth, it never looks the same way. Download the free SkyView app and see which constellations you can find.
Reacting to nightfall and dawn
Animals and plants react to the movements of the solar system. Many animals that are awake at night have adapted senses, such as echolocation in bats. They transmit noise and use the echo returned by objects and animals to determine their location. Night birds and rabbits possess very acute hearing. Plants also respond when day changes to night.
When you walk through the dunes, you may suddenly detect a delicious sweet smell. It is likely you are passing honeysuckle with vines that wrap around trees and rocks. The creamy white flowers with a touch of pink are generally grouped together. Their pistil and stamens protrude from the petals. The flowers look the same by day and night but smell quite differently. On quiet nights, the honeysuckle exudes a very strong sweet smell, attracting moths with their long tongues!
Light from the sea
If you go to the beach at the end of a warm day, you might see the waves luminesce due to sea sparkle, single-celled algae that light up under the influence of a chemical reaction. Their bioluminescence serves to scare off predators like jellyfish and small fish. When multitudes of these algae congregate, they create a magical blue or green glow in the sea, which is even more visible when you cause the water to move – a perfect excuse to run your hands through the surf or go barefoot in the water.
Book a camping spot
Of course, you want to stay all night to enjoy the many beautiful things on Texel. Wild camping is not allowed in the Netherlands and therefore on Texel. If you are bringing your tent, campervan or caravan to Texel, book your camping spot well ahead of time and avoid a fine. There are many camping grounds near Dunes of Texel National Park, so you can go for your night walk from your camping spot.
Dusk excursion at the Slufter
Would you like to experience the quiet of nature at dusk in Dunes of Texel National Park? The Staatsbosbeheer tour guide will be happy to take you on a dusk excursion of the Slufter nature reserve. Your senses will be at their most acute while you enjoy the dark: experience nature as you never did before. You can book the excursion via Ecomare.