The origins of the wadden Islands.
Arising and origins of the Wadden Sea Islands
Continuous tidal movement was what contributed most to the formation of today’s Wadden Sea Islands, or Wadden Islands. The mudflats were exposed at falling tide and covered with water at rising tide. This continuous tidal movement caused the mudflats to erode sharply to form gullies, and thus creating the Wadden Islands.
Texel’s base was formed by a solid layer of glacial till, which was deposited during the Ice age. This is why the landscape of the biggest Wadden Island of the Netherlands is different from the others. For more information on Texel’s natural formation, see
The Wadden Islands are situated in the North Sea, north of the Netherlands and Germany, and west of Denmark. Some of the Wadden Sea Islands are inhabited. The islands have a total of 81,000 people.
Rising sea level
The Wadden Sea region as we know it was formed approximately 8,000 years ago. After the most recent ice age, considerable parts of the Earth’s ice caps had melted. The ice cap north of the Netherlands was one of them; it disappeared completely. The North Sea filled up with water and the sea level rose. Tidal movements transported big quantities of sand towards the coast. As sea level rise slowed down, a mud flat area came into existence.
The inhabited islands of The Netherlands are Texel, Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog. Dutch school pupils are taught to remember these with the help of the TVTAS mnemonic. All up 24,000 people inhabit these 5 islands. Apart from these, there are some uninhabited islands, such as Rottumeroog, Griend and Simonszand. These islands are undergoing the process of transition from sandbank to island.
The Wadden Islands are continuously on the move. They are ‘walking’ ever so slowly from west to east. East of the island of Texel, sandbanks are constantly increasing in size, thus forming land, as to the west the sea is nibbling small pieces off the island. Consequentially, townships that were typically established in the middle of the islands are now situated on the west coast.
World Heritage Site
The Wadden Sea area is under water at high tide and above water at low tide. This makes the Wadden Sea an area that is unique in the world. There are only a few other areas in the world that manifest a similar intertidal phenomenon. Because of this unique quality, large part of the Wadden area was inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List in June 2009.