Ameland is one of the youngest Wadden Islands in the Netherlands. The island has its own culture and the local dialect is still widely spoken among the Amelanders. This is in contrast to the other Wadden Islands. Ameland offers a fine mix of beach, with accompanying beach bars, rugged dunes to get lost in and cosy villages. All of them have a historic centre for shopping.
But Ameland has much more to offer than that, or perhaps even much less. On Ameland you will find a special siren tranquillity. Not surprising with the longest beach inthe entire Wadden Sea region. The villages are small, cosy and friendly. Each one with its own character.
Slow travel seems to have been invented on Ameland. Here you can rent fun accommodation and drink local beer at reasonable prices. You will find everything between Mindfulness and parachute jumping. Great if you are coming alone, on holiday with your children or as a destination for a company outing.
The Wadden Island is located between Terschelling and Schiermonnikoog. You may drive your own car on the island, although the villages of Hollum and Nes are car-free.
Although taking your car is not really necessary. By bicycle and on foot, you can easily reach everything. For example, you can walk endlessly and there are 100 kilometres of cycle paths. If this is too boring for you, you can always bring your own pony or hire a horse. Riding trails are also plentiful.
We have listed the best activities and most beautiful places for you to see and experience.
1. The beaches of Ameland
Ameland’s nearly 30 kilometres of beach appeal to the imagination! Endless white sand, a long row of impressive dunes and more than enough space for everyone even on a busy beach day.
It is not without reason that the beaches on this Wadden Island won several awards last year. In 2020, the beach near the villages of Buren, Nes and Hollum received an international award for the 33rd time in a row for the cleanest and safest beach.
Ameland’s long beach is not just for sunbathing and long walks. You can also fly kites, go sand yachting, go horseback riding or enjoy the view of the Wadden Sea at one of the four beach tents.
All located on the north side of the island overlooking the North Sea, Ameland has 4 beach pavilions. Here, they have turned chilling, good food and cool cocktails into an art. We would like to list them for you from west to east.
Beachclub the Sunset at Hollum Ameland
At the far western tip of the Wadden Sea island of Ameland, you will find Beachclub The Sunset. Relax on one of the many lounge sofas on the terrace and enjoy an extensive lunch, home-made cocktails, various G&Ts or a culinary dinner.
Summery beats from the speakers, a view over the wide North Sea beach, feet in the sand on the beach terrace. Beach club The Sunset is not called the Ibiza of the North Sea for nothing!
If you’re not barefoot, you’re overdressed
But in winter, too, it is a good place to be. After you have had a walk on the beach, warm up by the fireplace with a fresh cup of coffee, hot chocolate or homemade mulled wine.
Beach pavilion Ballum on Ameland
Whether you are camping, enjoying an active holiday or visiting Ameland on a sailing trip, a visit to Strandpaviljoen Ballum is certainly worthwhile.
Enjoy homemade cakes, delicious Hesselink coffee, fresh smoothies and extensive dinners at this special location near Ballum. After a long walk on the beach, stop in for a quick one or have a nice cocktail with a view of the setting sun.
Pavilion in a unique location
Beach pavilion Ballum is located on a special stretch of beach, with a magnificent view of the coast and dunes. In the 1990s, a changing current in the North Sea caused a large sand bar. This transformed the area into a fertile environment, where flora and fauna flourish.
Beach pavilion Sjoerd on Ameland
Beach pavilion Sjoerd, located near the village of Buren, has been named the most sustainable beach pavilion of 2020. This is the place to be for breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between.
The best helmsmen are on the beach
-Motto of Sjoerd
Located centrally on the North Sea side of Ameland, this is the ideal place to relax during a beach trip or a marathon of sunbathing.
Beach pavilion ‘t Strandhuys near Buren on Ameland
From ‘t Strandhuys, you have a view of the wide panorama of beach and sea. With an insanely wide terrace surrounding the beach pavilion, you can enjoy the sun, beach and sea all year round in the shelter of the glass wall.
2. Dunes Oerd & Hôn on Ameland
Ameland has genuine ancient dunes. This is one of the oldest vegetated dune areas in the Netherlands. The peaks are impressively high and the deep valleys are literally and figuratively a breeding ground for special animals and birds.
A dune pan in this nature reserve is also ideal for a romantic picnic or to roll out your yoga mat.
Here you can enjoy the unique, primal Dutch nature undisturbed. When you’re done with the Mountain pose, it’s worth climbing to one of the dune tops. From the highest points of these dunes, you have a magnificent view of the home of thousands of birds called the salt marshes.
In the eastern old dunes of Het Oerd, you stumble over seagulls. More than 3500 herring gull pairs live here. They do not live here alone. Het Oerd is also home to a number of rare birds such as the Hen Harrier, the Eider Duck and the Curlew. If you sit still long enough, the entire bird guide passes you by here.
Nature reserve De Hon, in contrast to Het Oerd, is still busy developing. New dunes are formed and the salt marsh is still slowly expanding. A walk here will take you past all the highlights of the Dutch Wadden Sea region.
With the sand between your toes, you can see up close how special the salt marsh areas are. You will experience how the sandbanks off the coast of the island fall dry at low tide. This provides a whole delegation of other birds to marvel at.
The pride of this nature reserve is the colony of Spoonbills, which have been permanent residents for a number of years. They do not live here alone, as the Short-eared Owl also breeds here. Be sure to bring your binoculars if you are a bird lover.
For the less fanatical bird watcher, it is also very special here. Especially at the end of the summer, when the typical marsh plant sea lavender turns the whole area purple. In that case, be sure to bring your camera.
2. Nature centre Ameland
Not to be missed by the tall tower is Natuurcentrum Ameland. Here you can not only enjoy the view but also learn all about what lives on, in and under the sand.
Natuurcentrum Ameland has one of the largest North Sea aquariums in the world. All the animals you find underwater in the Wadden Sea region swim in it. The fish in this aquarium are fed at set times. Fun and educational to experience. Explanations are given about who eats whom in the sea and why.
North Sea Aquarium
Furthermore, there are special exhibitions and interactive displays in the Nature Centre. What makes this centre so special is the Wadden Campus. On this campus, you will find national and international students researching practical issues on Ameland.
These issues are directly or indirectly related to the question of how Ameland can become self-sufficient. Topics such as sustainability, ecology and the environment are central to this. You can literally look over the students’ shoulders and see completed projects.
3. Tidal flat walks on and around Ameland
You have probably heard of mudflats. Isn’t that sinking in mud up to your knees? Just about yes, but there is more than that. A mud flat hike is the ultimate way to experience nature on and around the Wadden Islands.
The idea of walking on the bottom of the sea, where only an hour ago water could be seen until the horizon, appeals to the imagination. Just like the fact that you can literally cross over from the mainland in Groningen to the Wadden Island. But also that you have to hurry a bit because the tide is coming in again.
You come across all kinds of things while walking the mud flats. You get to know the life that comes to the surface at low tide. For example, the birds that come here for lunch now that the bottom of the Wadden Sea is giving itself away. You will pick up cockles & oysters along the way and if you are lucky, you will have a delicious lunch by the time yourmud flat hike comes to an end.
In the summer, real Wadden wanderings are organised, where you learn everything about what lives in this area. You come to places you would not find without a local guide.
Imagine for a moment that you are alone in the world on a vast sandbank with only the sound of a stray sandpiper in the background.
4. Demonstration horse rescue boat Ameland
Rescuing drowning people and assisting ships in distress has a long tradition on Ameland. For hundreds of years, this was how a lifeboat was launched. Until 1940, this was the only way and thousands of drowned people were saved.
Nowadays, the KNRM has modern and fast boats to respond to emergencies. Nevertheless, a few times a year you can see how things used to be during a demonstration.
During a demonstration of the horse rescue boat on Ameland, 10 sturdy horses pull the rescue boat with thunderous force over the beach and through the surf into the sea. Impressive to see is also everything around it, such as the wagon and the harnessing of the horses to the cart. Did you know that this cart weighs almost 10,000 kilos?
The demonstration starts at maritime centre ‘Abraham Fock‘ in the village Hollum and the launch takes place at the beach south west of Hollum. Easy to reach by bicycle, on foot or by local bus.
5. Visit the village of Hollum on Ameland
If you really want to feel the essence of Ameland, you should visit Hollum as well as the beach. Hollum is the largest of the four villages: Ballum, Nes and Buren, and is picturesquely beautiful.
The commanders’ houses are a reminder of how sailors lived here in the 16th and 17th centuries. The more steps on the façade, the higher the rank of the seafarer who lived there. You go back in time when you stroll through the narrow streets. Here, just a stone’s throw away from the Ameland Lighthouse, you will also find quaint boutiques and cosy cafés.
6. Bunkers museum
An impressive visual story is told in the bunker. There is also an overwhelming diorama, personal island stories, finds and a memorial room for war victims. This gives you a pretty good idea of the wartime history of this island. Those who descend the stairs to the underground bunker and enter the bunker imagine for a moment that they are in a completely different world.
7. Cultural and historical centre Sorgdrager on Ameland
In the “Sorgdrager” museum, the culture, history and customs of Ameland come together in a very special way. As you wander through the various rooms, you will come across a variety of special and unique objects that tell stories of Ameland’s rich history.
Discover the history of whaling, rummage around in the open depot on the top floor or marvel at the beautiful furniture art from times gone by.
8. Parachute jumping above Ameland
Imagine jumping out of a plane at an altitude of 3 kilometres and experiencing a free fall of 30 seconds. Even if they only feel like 3 seconds or 30 minutes. No worries about opening the parachute, as you are attached to an experienced instructor who will take care of the tandem jump and landing.
Skydiving will definitely give you a huge adrenaline boost. Then consider that you are jumping over one of the most beautiful places in the Netherlands, the Wadden Island of Ameland.
The Skydive centre has over 35 years of experience in offering tandem jumps in the Netherlands. The combination of sea, beach and land makes the view unique. Here we can truly speak of “a jump with a view”. Do you dare?
Are you really coming for your some ranquility and could you use some guidance in your mindfull journey? Then Wad’n Mindfulness is the place you are looking for.
Do you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life? Then come to a day of silence. Whether you live on Ameland or are on holiday here, whether you have much or almost no experience with meditation, everyone is welcome.
If you want to focus on yourself and not have to do anything, then this is for you. Desiree Zwarts guides the various meditations from the inspiring accommodation “De Plaats” in Hollum.
10. Art Month on Ameland
November Art Month Ameland is an international, cultural highlight with exhibitions all over the island. Where, and this is also very special, the sea marks the boundary.
In a natural setting of mystical silence and with sometimes foggy or stormy Wadden Sea weather, it is easy to wander and enjoy the displayed art that is spread all over the island.
In November, around one hundred professional artists will exhibit their work in this inspiring environment. This is an international group of artists from Scandinavia, Germany and the Netherlands, among others.
Stagecraft is an indispensable art form during the Ameland Art Month. The Podiumkunst workgroup organises a cultural evening programme every Saturday evening, where you can enjoy a concert or another special performance. Poetry evenings are organised every Wednesday and a Scandinavian film is shown on Thursday evenings.
How to visit Ameland
Ameland is easy to reach by ferry from Holwerd in Groningen. The crossing takes about 50 minutes and goes several times a day, all year round. You can also choose to come to Ameland with a traditional sailing ship.
Sailing to Ameland
Ameland can also be visited during a sailing trip on board one of the authentic sailing ships. From the port of Harlingen during a multi-day sailing trip along the Wadden Islands, Ameland is one of the islands often visited. For more information, please contact us. On our homepage you will find the planned sailing trips for the coming period.