Netherlands: Terschelling

Category: Europe, MBP newsletter content

Last updated: June 20th, 2019

Beach clean up

On the island it can be pretty stormy, especially in the winter. Strong winds, high water and spring tides can make a day on the beach very spectacular. Every winter there is a change that lost cargo washes up on the beach. Many islanders are therefore ready in the winter when there is a chance to be beach combing. So again this year, At the beginning of January just north of the German Wadden island Borkum, the container vessel MSC Zoe lost more than 300 containers, of which 25 with hazardous substances.

What started as a nice day of beachcombing soon turned into a sense of powerlessness.
The wide beach of Terschelling (and the other Wadden Islands) had suddenly turned into a beach full of slippers, toys, baskets, car parts, light bulbs etc.

And worst of all is the packaging material, polystyrene and other plastic. The beach seemed like a big garbage dump.
An ecological disaster when you think about life in and around the sea. Benthos animals, fish, migratory birds, seals will continue to suffer from all this plastic for years to come.
Islanders and visitors (it was still Christmas holiday) cleared the beach en masse. It was very special to see how tidy the beach looked just after 1 day of cleaning. Unfortunately many more clean-up actions will be needed to make the beach really “plastic free”.


Staatsbosbeheer and the municipality had organised a number of clean –up campaigns. We received a lot of help from people from the mainland. Our colleagues from other parts of the Netherlands also came to help. Although there is still a lot to do, all small bits help.       

Nice news to conclude!

In the coming year, 20 islanders will be trained as a volunteer bird watcher on the Boschplaat.
With this, Staatsbosbeheer wants to increase the involvement of the inhabitants in this unique and beautiful part of the island.
During a 4 day-training, the volunteers learn, among others things, specifics about the area, the most common plants and animals and hospitality. It is the intention that the trained bird watchers will be deployed next year (2020) as a bird watcher on the Boschplaat.

Birdwatchers stay with the two of them for a whole week at the bird post during breeding season, without too much luxury. There is no shower (just jump in the sea) or toilet, but it is possible to cook and there is enough drinking water. A unique opportunity for nature lovers.


Greetings from Terschelling (the Netherlands)
Feline Zwaan
Wanda bakker
(photos made by islanders)

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