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Oudeschild is the only village on Texel that is situated right by the sea. In the harbour, low and high tides quietly do their own thing. A few times a year, water levels rise so high that the quay floods. But this no longer fazes the villagers of Oudeschild; what’s more, you can even take part in a High Tide dinner.
Oudeschild is the home port of the Texel fishing fleet and its robust charm gives it an irresistible appeal. Around the weekend, the harbour is bursting with modern cutters. From Oudeschild, you can go on a boat trip on the Waddenzee and experience the illustrious Dutch East India Company history of the Texelse Reede at Kaap Skil Museum.
The Texel fishing fleet still comprises around 30 cutters. These create a lot of buzz in the harbour. At the weekend, fishermen are often busy mending their nets and carrying out maintenance on the quay. And, you can, of course, eat delicious fish in the harbour! There are several restaurants that serve fish specialities.
The village of Oudeschild originated in the beginning of the 17th century. The ships of the Dutch East India Company, which were anchored in the Reede van Texel, brought trade and prosperity to the area. Small boats used to transport barrels of drinking water from the wells of the Brakestein country estate via Skilsloot to the waiting ships in the Reede van Texel.
These wells were situated just outside Oudeschild and were called the ‘Wezenputten’ (Orphans’ Wells) because they were owned by the orphanage in Den Burg. Of the original five wells, two have survived and have been given municipal monument status. Several cycle and walking routes pass by the Wezenputten.
Back in the day, dozens of ships were often anchored in the Reede van Texel, waiting for favourable winds so they could stand out to sea. Texel was the starting point for many voyages of discovery, military and trade journeys. During storms, ships lying off Oudeschild harbour sometimes became involved in accidents, such as the disaster on Christmas Eve in 1593. During a violent storm, a number of ships came adrift, dragging many others along. In total, almost 200 ships sank that night.
One of the shipowners who lost ships in this disaster, Roemer Visscher, named his daughter, who was born in 1594, after this disaster: Maria Tesselschade.
At Kaap Skil Museum in the centre of Oudeschild, you learn about beachcombing and the maritime history of Texel in general and Oudeschild in particular. You step into old fishermen’s cottages, there are rope-making and fish-smoking demonstrations, and you find out all about the Reede van Texel, the illustrious Dutch East India Company and naval heroes like Michiel de Ruyter, who were once very much part of the Oudeschild scenery.
Want to stay in Oudeschild? No problem! Check out the accommodation options in Oudeschild here.