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Texel is the largest of the Dutch Wadden Islands. The island with 13,727 inhabitans is also a municipality. With just over 7,000 people Den Burg is the largest village on the island. It is the largest and most populated island of the West Frisian Islands in the Wadden Sea. The island is situated north of Den Helder, northeast of Noorderhaaks, also known as "Razende Bol" and southwest of Vlieland.
In the early Middle Ages and before, Texel and Wieringen may have been much bigger and met each other as opposite banks of the Marsdiep, which was then a river with banks of permanent land. In the 13th century Ada, Countess of Holland was held prisoner on Texel by her uncle William.
Texel received city rights in 1415. Texel was involved in the Battle of Scheveningen (1653) during the First Anglo-Dutch War and the Battle of Texel (1673) during the Third Anglo-Dutch War. Texel is also famous in military history as the only place where a navy was defeated on horseback. Occupying Holland in January 1795, the French continental army learned that the mighty Dutch navy had been frozen into the ice around Texel, so Commandant Louis Joseph Lahure and 128 men rode up to it and demanded surrender. No shots were fired. In 1797, Texel was involved in the Battle of Camperdown during the Napoleonic wars.
During the American Revolution, Texel was used as a haven port for the USS Bonhomme Richard before it sank off the coast of Flamborough Head in Britain in September 1779. In that final action, John Paul Jones defeated and captured the British ship HMS Serapis, which he sailed to Texel for desperately needed repairs. This event further complicated Anglo-Dutch relations.
During the First World War in 1914, the Battle off Texel took place off the coast of Texel. On the night of 31 August 1940, the sea to the northwest of Texel was the scene of the sinking of two British destroyers and the severe damage of a third by German mines in what became known as the Texel Disaster. At the end of Second World War in 1945, the Georgian Uprising of Texel took place on the island.
The municipality is located at 53°3′N 4°48′E north of the mainland of the province of North Holland and west of the mainland of the province of Friesland. The island of Texel is situated north of the city of Den Helder, northeast of the uninhabited island of Noorderhaaks, which is part of the municipality, and southwest of the island of Vlieland.
The island includes the seven villages De Cocksdorp, De Koog, De Waal, Den Burg, Den Hoorn, Oosterend, and Oudeschild, and the small townships of Bargen, De Nes, Dijkmanshuizen, Driehuizen, Harkebuurt, 't Horntje, Midden-Eierland, Molenbuurt, Nieuweschild, Noorderbuurt, Ongeren, Oost, Spang, Spijkdorp, Tienhoven, Westermient, Zevenhuizen, and Zuid-Eierland.
The island of Texel was originally made up of two islands, Texel proper to the south and Eierland to the northeast, which were connected by shoals. In the seventeenth century, the islands were poldered together. Today, Texel forms the largest natural barrier between the North Sea and the Wadden Sea.
The dune landscape on Texel is a unique habitat for wildlife. Notable areas include De Slufter, where the tide comes in and meets the dunes, forming a marshy environment rich in both fauna and flora. Texel is known for its wildlife, particularly in winter, when birds of prey and geese take up residence. About one third of Texel is a protected nature reserve.
The Ronde om Texel is a sailing competition, which as the name suggests envolves sailing around the island. The total distance is about 100 kilometres. The event takes place in June.
Every year in July, you can enjoy the Texel Air Show on the Wadden Island of Texel. It is the largest airshow in the Netherlands.
There is no public airport on the Island with passenger services; the nearest would be Schiphol.
You can take your car on the ferries from Den Helder. Expect to pay between €25 and €40, including passengers.
Buses go to Den Helder, from where you need to take the ferry.
If you bring your car, this will give you more flexibility to go anywhere on the Island within a relatively short time period. For a long weekend, this would be a great idea. Parking is free in most places, except the centres of the main villages.
Public transport is rather limited on the Island. There is an hourly connection (connecting with the ferry) between the ferry and north towards Den Burg and De Koog. All other forms are usually on demand services, which you need to arrange an hour or more in advance.
Some parts of Texel are great to explore on foot, especially the beaches, parks and villages.
The island is best experienced by bicycle, especially in summer. There are many place to hire bikes on the Island. Costs vary, but standard bicycles start at around €6 per day, more for electric bikes.
As most travellers stay in De Koog, this is where the island's nightlife takes place. There are many bars and cafes.
A lot of hotels and campsites are found on Texel. On top of that, there are many guesthouses and B&B's and numerous homes to rent, either on bigger parks, or from individuals.
Internet cafés are not as widespread as you would expect, but you can easily find one in the popular cities. Most hostels, hotels and camp sites have several computers, so you can keep connected with folk at home. Here is a list of internet cafés that could come in handy for travellers. Otherwise, most libraries have lots of computers and prices are around the €2-3 per hour range, although sometimes it can be even more expensive.
Wireless internet access using wifi is becoming more popular and is usually available at most hotels and increasingly at train stations. Also in trains (at least in most first class wagons, but also more and more in second class) and some buses you can use wifi. Finally, places like McDonald's and Starbucks have free wifi, and smaller individual business like cafés and restaurants are on the rise too offering these services. More often than not, these service tend to be free of charge, though there might be a limited time you can use the internet.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The country code for the Netherlands is 31. The outbound international prefix is 00. The general emergency number is 112, like many other countries.
0800 numbers are toll-free and for 09xx numbers are charged at premium rates. Mobile phones have numbers in the 06 range, and calls to cell phones are also priced at higher rates.
From internet cafés, it is also usually possible to make long distance international calls. Like in other countries, telephone booths have almost disappeared, though some are still found around public transport stations, where you can use a few coins to make calls. It is only recommended for local calls.
The cellular phone network in the Netherlands is GSM 900/1800. The main providers of cell phone networks are KPN (Dutch only), T-mobile and Vodafone, who cover the whole country. Other operators, like Hollandsnieuwe, Simyo or Tele2, use one of these 3 networks basically.
It is best to buy a SIM card when in the Netherlands for use in your cellphone, as this usually works out cheaper than using the one from home. If you are planning to study or work in the country and stay for several months, buying a cellphone is the best option. A simple one, sometimes with €10 worth on it, can be bought from around €25. The simplest smartphones are around €75.
The rate for sending a postcard or letter up to 20 grams within the Netherlands is €0.64 (2014). Since 2010 there are stamps available for domestic post which no longer include the value in €. Instead, there are stamps available with either a '1' or a '2' as a substitute for value. The '1' can be used for letters and postcards up to 20 grams, while 20-50 grams require you to use the '2'-valued stamps (or two '1'-valued stamps of course).
Sending items to other EU countries and the rest of the world (there is one price since 2014) will cost €1.05. Stamps are sold at post offices, supermarkets and smaller shops/kiosks; often the place where you buy your postcards can also supply you with stamps.
Sending parcels abroad is more costly. A standard-sized parcel between up to 2 kilograms will cost you €9 for destinations within the EU and €18 (both without Track & Trace) to the rest of the world. Prices with Track & Trace start at €13 and €24.30 respectively. Parcel service is available from major post offices only; standard-size boxes are on sale there as well. For sending parcels, it might be just as competitive and fast to use a company like TNT, UPS or DHL.
If you need to receive mail while moving around, you can have it sent poste restante (to be called for) to a post office of your choice, where it will be kept for a month. If you come to claim it, bring a valid ID, and make sure to have told the sender that the name on the envelope must be an exact match with that in your passport. For addresses of post offices, as well as more information, consult the TNT website.
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