Island of Stories

Texel Island, Netherlands

Texel (pron. Tesel) Island was practicing responsible farming long before the word “sustainable” was even a word.  The word has become so cliché that it hardly means anything anymore.  Any business that uses cloth napkins instead of paper or changes out incandescent bulbs to LED lays claim to the word and displays it proudly.  But sustainable farming on Texel is not a fad – it’s a way of life, a tradition adopted centuries ago simply for survival.

Roadside stand

The previous frigid day of biking was nothing more than a fuzzy memory as we set out on a sunny morning from Oudeschild where the boat was docked.  Today our loop would be roughly 35 km of biking narrow roads and paths through sheep farms and yes, more tulip fields (each more beautiful than the last.)  First stop was a family-owned cheese farm to sample some homemade sheep cheese and learn about the traditions of sustainable farming on this little island.  We heard stories of hard winters, simple living and proud people.  Community is a necessity – neighbors helping neighbors in order to survive and thrive on this little island.

Because of the strong North Sea winds, barn doors are always on the sheltered east side, while the “butt” of the barn structures slope against the wind from the west.

Texel island residents take pride in their traditions and lifestyle but they are perhaps the most proud of their local brew – Texel beer.  After a full day of biking, we stopped for some liquid sustenance and did our part to help out the local economy. 

Texel Brewery

Oudeschild neighborhood

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