Holland holidays by the sea is vacation behind the dike
If you go on holiday by the sea in Holland, it means a holiday behind the dike. You can experience this on one of the islands in the Wadden Sea or in one of the coastal towns in the north of the Netherlands. We don't just have that on this trip to Holland Culinary of the island Texel explored closer, but then continued to Friesland and in the province of Groningen. Always on or along the dike. For us as Bavaria, this region is a fascinating destination. Another world. Much is alien to us here. The vastness of the landscape that never seems to end. The life behind the dike. The fact that much of the country is below sea level. That places that are miles away from the sea are former fishing villages.
The land of canals and windmills
The Wadden Sea, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009, stretches from Den Helder in North Holland over the German North Sea coast up to Denmark. It is a landscape dominated by the sea, even if the sea is not always visible. To be honest, I'm glad about that too. Who wants to see the sea when the ground on which one stands is below sea level? In some places even several meters. This is also a Holland vacation by the sea
This goes back to the way land reclamation has been practiced by the Dutch for centuries. Since their homeland is shallow and was exposed to the influences of the sea unprotected, they built dikes. The land beyond dehydrated them. The canals through which they carried away the water traverse Holland and its islands to this day. Some windmills on the coast also testify to these practices. Some served to pump off the water from the lowlands. The result was a polder landscape, which today serves as a pasture and - along the coast - as a nature reserve. Polder, that's the name of the land behind the dikes.
The "Linde" enters the port of Den Helder on our vacation in Holland by the sea
The ports in North Holland, Friesland & Groningen
I find it interesting that the ports we have visited on this coast are almost all in the polderland or towards the IJsselmeer. Protected from the storms of the North Sea. Oudeschild on Texel, Den Helder in North Holland, Zoutcamp in Groningen - all are either on a canal, on the IJsselmeer or protected by the offshore islands on the Wadden Sea. This also gives places that are no longer directly on the coast, such as Zoutcamp, a maritime flair. Although the Zoutcamp shrimp cutters leave the next larger port, boats still arrive via canals such as the Reitdiep or the tributary to the Lauwersmeer. The sea is still close in the port of Zoutcamp. Even if the local fishermen have a slightly different opinion.
The dike - a bulwark against the sea
He has something soothing. Creates security. Promises security. The dike. We experience for ourselves how much he conveys this feeling on our trip. We take a “clean shoe hike” through the mudflats at the tiny village of Paesens in Friesland. There we meet Harm Jan, who introduces us to the secrets of the watt. "I moved from the city to the countryside because I like life on the coast better," he says. He looks at the expanse of the mudflats that open behind the dike. Harm accompanies us on our walk through the mudflats. As Bavaria, this landscape is foreign to us. Therefore, we are reluctant to embark on the mudflat adventure. A good decision for us greenhorns, as it turns out.
Mudflat hike on the Wadden Sea during a holiday by the sea in Holland
Shortly after we leave the height of the dike and go out towards the mud flats, fog comes up from the south. Harm now talks about mudflat hikes that he does with less anxious guests than us. "I always have a compass with me," he says, looking at the fog bank that is getting closer and closer. "It can happen out there that the fog takes away the whole view. Then you need something to orientate yourself on. ”I believe him immediately, as the fog around us grows thicker and thicker.
The dyke can hardly be seen, although we are only a few hundred meters away from it on fixed paths along the edge of the mudflat. "If you have a compass with you, you have to make sure that no metal deflects the needle. You cannot rely on your own sense of direction in a fog bank. I remember one day when I was convinced that if I keep walking in this direction”, and he points into the mist that is swirling around us, “I will come back to land.” He laughs. “However, my compass pointed in exactly the opposite direction. If I hadn't had that, I would have wandered further and further out onto the mud flats.” I'm getting more and more uneasy as the fog wraps around us ever more densely. But Harm doesn't need his compass to find the dike again. He brings us safely back to the starting point of our mudflat hike in Paesens.
Like a longer one Wattwanderung looks, you can read at Elke von Meerblog.
What you need for a mudflat walk
- On a Wattwanderung out into the Watt you need necessarily Rubber boots*, You will wade through silt. Sometimes even sinking to the knees.
- Since the wind almost always blows at the sea and the weather can change quickly, you need one waterproof windbreaker * or Wax Jacket *
- Practical is also one Rain pants *that can get wet too.
- In sunshine or wind shelter Hat with brim * against the elements.
- Do you go out alone into the mud, then you should definitely one Compass* take with you, you can orient yourself in case fog raises.
Holland holidays by the sea is a journey into the silence
Anyway, we're happy to be back on solid ground with a healthy skin. Without having to listen to our inner compass. Behind the dike, we follow the country roads, where we rarely meet other vehicles. Mass tourism is sought in vain along the Wadden Sea. Just like Ballermann atmosphere or the party crowd. And that's good. Here you live close to nature. In silence.
"It should stay that way," we hear several times from our conversation partners on this trip. We can only support this attitude. Because this region has its own charm. The villages invite you to visit the town center, which is almost always grouped around canals. No matter whether we are in Dokkum in Friesland, in Eenrum in Groningen, in Zoutcamp, in Nieuweschans on the German-Dutch border, in Appingedam or in Groningen, we meet channels everywhere. Even Groningen, the capital of the province of the same name, is crossed by canals. Although it is about 30 kilometers from the sea.
We enjoy our drive through the country on the narrow country roads. Watch the sheep in the pasture. Watch herons stick their long beaks in the water in search of frogs. And listen to the silence that is omnipresent here. Switch off, slow down and relax - that's easy on the Wadden Sea. This is Holland holiday by the sea.
Travel tips for Holland
- The Netherlands points of interest & sights
- The island of Texel
- Edam, Volendam and Monnikendam
- Experience the Dutch North Sea coast
- Exceptional accommodations in North Holland
- Isabel recommends Zoutelande for one Holland holidays with child and dog
Arrival for your Holland holiday at the sea
Book yours here Arrival by plane, bus or train*. KLM and Lufthansa will follow Amsterdam. From there, it's best to take a car, because that's the only way you're flexible enough to get to know the localities in the region better. We came with our own car from southern Bavaria. For the trip we took two days with an overnight stay on the more than 1000 km long route. This made it easy to get there. Do you want to see more of Holland? Then we recommend one Road trip through the Hanseatic cities in Holland, Further Tips for a weekend in Holland by the sea you can find at MS Welltravel.
Cheap car hire - quick and easy booking here *
Discover here Accommodation on the Dutch coast *
Do you already know:
- Easter holidays
- Rent a houseboat - this is how a houseboat vacation works
- Which rain jacket is the best?
- Finance your vacation - tips from travel bloggers
Find more Slow Travel Tips you can find under this link.
Source for this article: own research on site. We would also like to thank UNESCO Waddenzee Werelderfgoed for the kind support of this trip. However, our opinion remains our own.
Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline