Situated between Vlieland and Ameland, Terschelling forms part of the West Frisian Islands off the north coast of the Netherlands. It has been inhabited since at least the 9th century and is dotted with farmhouses and barns built using masts reclaimed from shipwrecks. Terschelling is famed for its annual Oerol Festival, which sees theatrical performances held across the island.
Things to do in Terschelling
Terschelling is home to the oldest lighthouse in the Netherlands, the 54-metre-high Brandaris, which was originally established in 1324 to guide ships through the Zuiderzee. Admire its square-shaped tower, which dates from 1594, and see the rotating Fresnel lens installed in 1837.
In the village of Formerum is the only windmill remaining on Tershchelling, the Koffiemolen, which was built in 1876 and is now listed as a Rijksmonument. Designed as a three-storey smock mill, it features a thatched cap and 20-metre sails on a shaft cast by Prins van Oranje in The Hague. Guided tours of the Koffiemolen are available on request.
If you’re interested in the history of Terschelling, visit the Museum 't Behouden Huys, which is named after a shelter used by Willem Barentsz on one of his Arctic expeditions. It occupies a series of 17th-century buildings that once housed whaling commanders and tells the stories of the farmers, fishermen and merchants who occupied the island. In addition to its collection of artefacts, the museum features projections and animations that help to bring the past to life.
Getting around Terschelling
Regular ferries depart from Harlingen on the mainland to West-Terschelling, with some transporting cars and bikes. Cycling and walking are the main means of getting around the island, with more than 200 kilometres of trails to explore. Three bus routes also serve Terschelling.