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Texel’s half barns

3 October 2017

When visiting Texel, you will probably wonder about the ‘half’ barns dotted across the landscape. These barns served as storage places for hay and other feed for the sheep on the island. That is why they are sometimes referred to as ‘schapenboet’, Dutch for sheep barn, or ‘skéépeboet’ in the Texel dialect. They actually never housed sheep, they were too small for that.

History of the sheep barn

A long time ago, cattle and sheep used to roam relatively freely across the whole island. In the 17th century, fenced fields were created. It is in these fields that the first sheep barns were built at the end of the 17th century.

In the 20th century, large-scale land consolidation took place on Texel. This consolidation and re-parcelling of land led to the barns falling into disrepair or being cleared. Luckily, the municipality of Texel decided to renovate and keep a considerable number of these characteristic barns before it was too late.

With the wind

With their asymmetrical shape, these sheep barns are a very typical feature of the Texel landscape. This special shape is no accident. Because of the wind on the island, the barn door faces east, the sheltered side.

How many sheep barns are there on Texel?

In the 1960s, there were over 100 sheep barns on Texel, about 70 of which remain today. Twenty-two barns are listed as a national monument. The policy of the municipality of Texel is aimed at preserving all sheep barns for the island.

At Sheep Museum Texel, you can take a look around inside a real sheep barn. Why not visit Texel’s very own sheep museum soon?

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