Schiermonnikoog is the smallest West Frisian island in the possession of the Netherlands which is inhabited. With a length of 16 km and breadth of 4 km, cars and mopeds are prohibited, except for those of the islanders themselves, of course. People who want to visit Schiermonnikoog must leave their cars in the village of Lauwersoog in the province of Groningen and continue the journey by boat. The island is extremely suitable for cyclists and hikers who need peace and quiet. Consequently, bicycles can be rented everywhere. The only village on the island is also called Schiermonnikoog. It was built in 1720 and has characteristic streets with small houses in which all conveniences are available. The rest of the island largely consists of nature, which was designated as a National Park in 1989, where dunes, woods, mud flats, polders and the broadest beaches in the country can be found. Schiermonnikoog is also known as a ‘bird’s island’. Even in the tourist season, when the island is overrun by tourists, there are still more birds on the island than people. During the tourist season, a wide range of activities are organised for people of all ages.
Schiermonnikoog has a large National Park. It was designated as such in 1989 by the national committee of parks. The park covers 5400 ha. The Vereniging Natuurmonumenten (‘nature reserves association’) is in charge of the management of the park. Since it is a national park, the management, nature and environmental education and nature-oriented recreation must have additional quality. Some special projects concerning protection of the area are now on within the national park, i.e. duck decoy, grazing, water management and forestry. www.nationaalpark.nl/schiermonnikoog/
Visitor centre Schiermonnikoog is a centre for nature information and education of the National Park Schiermonnikoog. A permanent exhibition is set up here with a slide show, books on Schiermonnikoog and various nature-related subjects; since recently, there is also a small cultural-historical museum. Torenstreek 20 (at the foot of the white water tower), P.O. Box 32, 9166 ZP Schiermonnikoog.