Experience nature to the fullest on the Wadden

Do you like water, peace and space? Then you’ll really like the Wadden! It is full of undiscovered places. In this blog I’ll (Ellen van den Doel, photographer) tell you why this is a must-see.

Friesland Groningen
Photo: Ellen van den Doel
Ellen van den Doel Friesland Groningen
Photo: Ellen van den Doel
Terschelling
Photo: Ellen van den Doel

Nature lovers will feel very much at home here

In 2009, the Wadden Sea was put on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, proof that this is a special place. The landscape is always changing thanks to the tides, which means that you will never experience it the same way twice. And not only is the landscape impressive, but wildlife enthusiasts will find there is much to discover.

I began my exploration on the island of Terschelling. I purposely decided to go in the winter because, as lovely as it is to have beautiful weather while being surrounded by all that beach, I wanted to experience nature to the fullest: fierce winds, dramatic skies and gorgeous multicoloured sunsets. One of the benefits of the winter period for a photographer is that there is good light all day long. Another benefit is that certain nature reserves that are closed to visitors during breeding season, such as the Boschplaat, are open in winter.

Photo: Ellen van den Doel

To preserve nature, some areas cannot be reached by car

But that makes them all the more peaceful. I rented an electric fatbike for exploring the island. That’s a mountain bike with extra wide tires. You can even go cycling on the beach with these bikes. How fun is that? Cycling on the beach! And when you do, a visit to the Drenkelingenhuisje, an old shelter for shipwreck victims, is a must.

The next day, I made an early start. Whilst cycling along the dike on my fatbike I enjoyed a beautiful pink sunrise over the wad. Now that’s a fine way to wake up. Along the way, I made quite a few stops to take photos of course.

The Noordsvaarder is another area that really deserves a visit is. There are beautiful high dunes here where you can go on long hikes and enjoy the peace. At low tide, the beach transforms into a true artwork of structures and patterns. And don’t worry, you’ll always find your way back because the Brandaris lighthouse will show you the way. I spent several evenings strolling in this area and I discovered something new every time.

There is so much to see and do here that I ran out of time, so they will definitely be seeing me again. And you know what else I like about this place? The people still take the time to talk to you and offer friendly greetings to each other. What more could you ask for when you want to take a little break?

Photo: Ellen van den Doel

I continued my exploration of the Wadden area in the spring

It was time to visit the Moddergat region and Lauwersmeer on the mainland. Whilst I was nearing my destination, I enjoyed the sights of beautiful farms and meandering roads. I myself live near the coast in a rural area but it’s quite different from what I was seeing here.

After unpacking my things, I wandered out into the evening to explore the area and enjoy the sunset. I came upon Ternaard. The water was rising and smooth as glass because there was no wind. The colour of the water was magnificent, and I wasn’t the only one enjoying the view. Several people on the dike stopped for a moment to take in this beautiful sight. The old, weathered poles on the wad added extra character to it all.

This really whet my appetite and I set my alarm for early the next morning. I headed out in time to catch the sunrise near Ezinge. This village was still deserted when I walked around the church that’s located on a terp, a man-made mound typical of this area. Whilst wandering through the village, delicious smells from the nearby bakery filled my nose. I greeted a man who was also up early to walk his dog. Adding to the beautiful atmosphere were remnants of the morning fog. My day was off to a great start.

Photo: Ellen van den Doel

When you’re in the area, a visit to Moddergat should definitely be on your list

After I caught myself grinning at the playful little lambs among the many sheep on the dike, I headed on down. I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful and varied this piece of land is. Salt marches, poles, old structures from previous times, this land has quite the history. While I explored the area, I kept taking pictures. I came prepared and wore my wellies. I carefully walked a bit on the wad. It’s strange, knowing that you are walking on the actual bottom of the sea.

By now, the sun was about to set so I found a good spot for my tripod to conclude this exploration for now. But I will definitely come back to this place as well. The Wadden area has enough to offer for everyone. I definitely recommend it!