The best things to do in Schiermonnikoog

The tiny Schiermonnikoog lies in the Wadden Sea and has such authenticity like you have never seen in your life! The charming houses, hotels and cafes take you to a time where whalers came to tell their wildest stories on the island. It seems that the small village has hardly changed and that gives all the more charm to Schiermonnikoog.
Besides a few remnants of this long-gone time, there is a lot of nature to see. It truly is a paradise island for cyclists and fans of hiking.

1. The whale jaw

In the village center there is a gigantic white arched gate. It looks like two ivory tusks have been put together, but this gigantic monument of Schiermonnikoog is nothing less than a jaw of the blue whale.
Many whaling expeditions were organized from the Wadden Islands, and later on the valuable loot was taken back to the Netherlands. Cod liver oil and whale fat were a precious commodity, and that also meant the almost extinction of these ocean giants.

Nowadays you can find a whale jaw on almost every Wadden island. Be sure to pose underneath, because only then do you realize how gigantic such a beast must be!

whale jaw schiermonnikoog walviskaak

With such giant jaws, this whale must’ve caught a lot of fishies!

2. The ‘bank van Banck’

Living on a Wadden island doesn’t only have advantages. The inclement weather and the location regularly cause major storms, towering waves and a lot of damage. To do something about this, island owner and resident John E. Banck decided to build an embankment. The result still stands today! To thank this nice man for all eternity, a unique bench was created for him: Banck’s bank (bank is the Dutch word for bench).
This must be one of the strangest sights of Schiermonnikoog. The name is original in any case!

bank van banck bench things to do in Schiermonnikoog

The ‘Bank van Banck’. During good and bad weather you get a phenomenal view over the Wadden Sea from this location.

3. The Westerplas

Near the ‘bank van Banck’ you’ll find one of the following sights of Schiermonnikoog. The Westerplas is the only freshwater lake on the island, and that attracts a lot of fluttering animals. Ducks, geese, gulls, cormorants, coots and grebes return here year after year, and you can observe them from the bird watching hut! If you don’t have binoculars, you can always rent them at the visitor center.
In addition to water birds you’ll also find many feathered animals in the bushes and the reeds around the Westerplas. Think of reedwarblers, but also beautiful egrets. If you’re very lucky you can even see a brightly colored kingfisher fluttering around.

westerplas sights schiermonnikoog

The Westerplas is the ideal location to spot beautiful birds!

4. The dunes

The unique dune landscape of Schiermonnikoog is phenomenal! Once you cycle through the National Park Schiermonnikoog you’ll get to see dozens, perhaps hundreds, of dunes. These hills of sand are formed by wind, bunnies (yes, really!) and other animals from the island. Walking in between gives you an alien feeling, and don’t forget to climb a few. The views you get from the sand tops are beautiful!

dunes schiermonnikoog things to do

The dunes are amazing to see in Schiermonnikoog! The beautiful plants and gorgeous views are magical! Even during fog!

5. The lighthouses

Schiermonnikoog doesn’t have only one, but two lighthouses. They are the skyscrapers of the island! The Zuidertoren has fallen into disrepair, but the Noordertoren still has an important function. You can no longer imagine Schiermonnikoog without these sights, because you can see them from pretty much everywhere. Unfortunately you can’t climb them. But I promise you that the view on one of these long chimneys is definitely worth the hike!

lighthouse schiermonnikoog red noordertoren

The Noordertoren (northern tower) is definitely the prettiest. And that also has to do with the location it stands o,!

6. Bunker Wassermann and the other bunkers

There are a lot of bunkers on the island from turbulent war times. Here and there you see some smaller constructions that you can visit and climb, but the most impressive is bunker Wassermann. This concrete building stands on the highest dune of the island and was meant as a lookout. However, Wassermann never did what it was intended for. Was it sabotage? Nobody will ever know! One thing I know for sure is that the view from here must be impressive in good weather. On the inside of the bunker you’ll find a beautiful Frisian poem. Well… If you understand it at least!

bunker wassermann things to see schiermonnikoog

During foggy weather you can’t see much of the Wadden sea and the beautiful dunes and landscapes…

7. The beach

Schiermonnikoog remains an island of course, and of course you’ll also find beaches on islands!
It’s no different on Schier. Miles of sandy beaches ensure that there are always some places that aren’t occupied by other tourists. Enjoy the beautiful birds, the blissful sound of the sea and if you’re lucky you might even spot a seal!
On the beach of Schiermonnikoog you can also do a lot of fun activities. Think of kite surfing, parasailing or kite flying.

schiermonnikoog beach sights things to do

During ebb you’ll get to see huge sand plains. Magical, isn’t it?

8. See seals sunbathing

Do you want to discover one of the best sights of Schiermonnikoog? Then you must search for seals!
There are many seals around Schiermonnikoog. Just like on the other Wadden Islands, by the way.
Two species swim in the Wadden Sea: the common and the gray seal. Usually they are sunbathing on the sandbanks far away from the inhabited islands, but sometimes they come a bit closer and you can spot them on the beach. If you want to see these cuddly animals with 100% certainty, I recommend booking a tour. With a large boat you sail to the sandbanks where these animals sunbathe in large numbers. It truly is a unique and special experience to see the animals in the wild.

seals schiermonnikoog wadden islands

Little cuties or the all-grown up kind: it’s amazing to see these animals in their wild habitat!

9. The Vredenhof

The Vredenhof is a military cemetery as it should always be. Men of all nationalities are buried here together. No distinction is made between Germans, Dutch, Frenchmen or whatever.
Although this is a military cemetery, there are also a few other graves at this location, found at the back. The original owner of the beautiful van der Werff hotel is also buried here, for instance.

Before you visit the Vredenhof, you should also turn right. There you see a small forest. Here you get to see a couple of graves of drowned people who died around the island. Both are beautiful and very special.

vredenhof schiermonnikoog

The Vredenhof. Serene and unique to this island.

vredenhof drowned people schiermonnikoog

People who have drowned around the island are also commemorated. The small crucifixes fit perfectly in the beautiful nature.

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