Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cycling and Sailing Holiday in The Netherlands: Island Hopping Day 4

The isle of Texel, which is one municipality, is the largest of the Dutch Waddeneilanden (Wadden islands). The average length of Texel is twenty kilometres and the average width eight kilometres.
The first inhabitants of Texel may date from the Middle Stone Age (80,000-45,000 BC). In 1415 the island was granted a municipal charter, which made it the largest official city of the country, in the matter of surface.
Texel is highly appreciated by bird-watchers. In springtime about 80 different types of birds breed here, mainly in the dune areas, and all in all about 300 different species have been found on Texel.
As early as in the 16th and 17th centuries the Texel sheep's cheese was well-known abroad. This was not only the usual white cheese but in particular a special, green cheese. The cheese was green as a result of the juice of boiled sheep droppings, which was stirred through the milk. However, because of hygienic reasons this was forbidden by the Dutch Food Inspection Department in 1930.
Texel is the most northerly place in Europe where spoonbills breed. These elegant white birds feel at home on the island due to the absence of their greatest enemy; the fox. The largest spoonbill colony in the Netherlands is located in the nature reserve De Geul. These beautiful birds can be watched from nearby here, from the early spring onwards.


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