A loose sandbar was once situated east of Terschelling and it had the Koggediep to thank for its freedom. But through clogging of the gully and the construction of a drift dike between 1931 and 1937, the sandbar merged together with Terschelling. This is the story of the Boschplaat, the largest nature reserve on the island. The overwhelming sense of freedom remains here and you’ll feel it yourself in this little part of no-man's land. The Boschplaat is also a Dark Sky Park. Total darkness and infinite starlit skies are here for you to enjoy.
Oddly enough the name ‘Boschplaat’ (bos=forest) has nothing to do with forests and you certainly won’t find any here. ‘Bos’ used to mean an ‘elevation in the landscape’ and refers to the sandbar from which the area originated. The Koggediep still exists as the ‘Eerste Slenk’, one of the five channels that allow the tides to impact nature on the Boschplaat.
The connection between Terschelling and the Boschplaat used to be a perilous one. During heavy westerly gales fishing boats ran the risk of being blown out of the North Sea and into the Wadden Sea. Therefore a nearly 9 km-long drift dike was constructed between 1931 and 1937, the Derk Hoekstra Stuifdijk. Terschelling and the Boschplaat have been connected since then.
The plan was to turn the Boschplaat into cultural landscape with the construction of the drift dike. Fortunately this never happened. De Boschplaat was free to develop into one of the most valuable nature reserves the Netherlands has and it was awarded the status of European Nature Reserve in 1970.
The Boschplaat is invaluable to very many brooding birds. Large colonies of gulls live on the marshes and according to recent counts about 200 pairs of spoonbills brood there. You can also spot Kentish plovers, terns and its rare sibling the little tern. They thrive here thanks to the unique rhythm of high and low tide, which turns the mudflats into a Walhalla of nutrition.
But these natural oases cannot be taken for granted. The rising sea levels threaten their existence and diminish biodiversity. For this reason a vision for the future is being worked on together with the islanders to ensure that the Boschplaat will remain attractive to man, flora and fauna in the future.