Schiermonnikoog Lighthouse (Photo: Baykedevries)


Schiermonnikoog is the smallest and easternmost of the Frisian (or Wadden) Islands along the North Coast of The Netherlands. For more in-depth coverage of Schiermonnikoog, read our Place section in Issue 7 of Dutch the magazine…

Some interesting facts:

  • Schiermonnikoog was attached to the Dutch mainland until December 14, 1287. On that date the entire northern coast of The Netherlands was reshaped by the devastating Saint Lucia Flood and Schiermonnikoog was separated from the rest of the country by the newly formed Wadden Sea.
  • Schiermonnikoog means Gray Monk Island. Cistercian monks from a monastery in Rinsumageest in Friesland settled the island after the flood. They wore gray habits and the island was named after them.
  • Considering it 'war booty' the Dutch government confiscated Schiermonnikoog from its German owner in 1945. Count Bechtold Eugen von Bernstorff who received 80,000 Deutschmarks in compensation, had inherited the island from his grandfather who purchased it for 200,000 guilders in 1893.
  • Schiermonnikoog was the last territory in Europe to be held by Nazi troops at the end of World War II. When The Netherlands was liberated on May 5, 1945 a group of rogue SS-troops dug in on the island and it was not until June 10 that Schiermonnikoog was liberated by Canadian forces, more than a month after VE-Day.
  • A large part of Schiermonnikoog is a national park. Visitors are strongly discouraged from bringing cars to the island, which is only allowed with special dispensation from the municipal government.

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Original article by: Tom Bijvoet