If I’m given the choice between the beach or woods, I choose the woods. Almost as controversial a subject as pineapple on pizza, the preference for cats or dogs, Marvel or DC, Coca-Cola or Pepsi. I know where I stand, preferably in the woods. But I’d advise everyone to visit Texel at least once. A Wadden island that is partly known for… well, its beaches.

A beach sunset is always glorious, the sand between your toes when you get home slightly less. For me, the best place on Texel is the middle of the island. Here you will find nature and care farm Plassendaal at the heart of the Waalenburg polder. I know the farm with its characteristic orange roof as the home of my cousin Mariët and her family.

Plassendaal_zomerserie 2022_foto door Leo Hofland
This is how you see Nature Farm Plassendaal when you walk back from the bird-watching hut by the water. Image credit: Leo Hofland

Every time I visit Plassendaal, it seems even lovelier. Particularly when I drive up De Staart. You can see the orange roof from all over the polder, each time confirming that I’m heading in the right direction and that I’m nearly there. And it just is becoming more and more beautiful. The family has worked on it over the years. They say themselves that they ‘produce nature’, nature like meadow birds and wild orchids. The cows maintain the grassland. Once you reach the Zaandammerdijk, you can see the water that is a paradise for those birds and for us humans just a beautiful sight. As a child, I never noticed that water. Now that the agricultural polder has transformed into a nature-rich grassland, I notice it much more. The ‘new’ nature fits incredibly well into the landscape.

My grandparents would have loved it. Every year since the 1960s, they would pack everything up and head for Texel with their five children. They spent all summer on the island. My father spent those months between the horses at Manage Kikkert. Mariët (and not just her) fell in love with a Texel native. Decades later, the island is still somewhere that brings our family together.

Tessa’s eerste keer op Texel_foto door Carolien Hofland
Tessa’s first time on Texel. Of course, the riding school where her father (also in the picture) used to go, had to be visited. Image credit: Carolien Hofland

When the Covid measures were relaxed in the summer of 2021, Plassendaal hosted our family reunion. I had not seen most of them since the family weekend in December 2019. It took less than a second before I was tearfully hugging an aunt. It’s not just the meadow birds that feel welcome on the farm – the Hofland family feels the same.

So, if I’m really asked to choose, I choose family.

– How do you get there?

By ferry from Den Helder. You can’t book, but if you aren’t travelling by car, there’s always room.

– Attractions & activities

It’s an island, so the fact that many attractions have something to do with the sea isn’t surprising. The Juttersmuseum is fun, as is the seal sanctuary and nature museum Ecomare, and don’t miss the picturesque Oudeschild. The atmosphere of this fishing village with its charming houses is unique on the island. And try a Texel gin and tonic or a glass of Skuumkoppe. Or pop in to Plassendaal nature farm for coffee and cake.

– Dangers & irritations

It’s always windy, I mean always. Sometimes a bit less, sometimes worse than in the wind tunnel under the Sanders building. Yes, worse. It’s possible.

– Flora & fauna

Do you like birds? Then Texel is your island. Black-tailed godwits, spoonbills, curlews, the occasional griffon vulture, and another 385 species of birds have been spotted there. Don’t forget your binoculars. Texel also has woods, moorlands, dunes, polders, and grasslands for the fourteen thousand sheep, so plenty of variety. Not everywhere is accessible to the public, so watch out for signs saying ‘conservation area’.

– Where can you get information?

The Texelse VVV (the tourist information office) is a good starting point. The island welcomes tourists, so the VVV has information in Dutch, German and English.

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