The history of tourism on Schiermonnikoog
In the middle of the 17th Century, the most common form of employment on the island was the merchant navy, with many men working as seafarers. Many families on the island left for bigger harbour cities such as Rotterdam, which was to the detriment of the economy on the island. Neighbouring island, Borkum, was also developing itself as a seaside resort and notable people on the island felt that this was also the best way forward for Schiermonnikoog.
The Stachouwer Family were not able to realise these seaside resport ambitions, due to financial difficulties, however the subsequent owner of the island, Mr John E Banck, seized some opportunities and started to invest in building a beach pavilion next to the lighthouse. He also bought a ship to transport tourists from the main land, during the summer months. Mr Banck created a list of accommodation available for rent on the island and persuaded rich outside investors to invest in the development of a luxurious Seaside Hotel, which opened in 1887.
Schiermonnikoog slowly became known as a seaside resort and the subsequent owner, Earl von Bernstorff, also promoted the develoment of Schiermonnikoog as a popular holiday destination.
History Tourist Information Office (VVV)
At the end of the 19th Century, Schiermonnikoog had many regular visiting guests and holiday makers, who regularly frequented the island. One of those guests was Mr Biegel and his family. Many years before the actual founding of the tourist information centre, Mr Biegel recommended that this was established to promote tourism on the island. On the 5th of August 1899, the Tourist Information Schiermonnikoog was founded. Known as “VVV Schiermonnikoog”, meaning “association of embellishment and improvement of tourism”. The founding of the Tourist Information Centre quickly led to an increase in visitors and holiday-makers to the island.
At the end of 1923, the luxurious Seaside Hotel had closed its doors, but this hotel had been a vital part of transforming Schiermonnikoog into a holiday destination. During the years that followed, leading up to and during the war, Schiermonnikoog struggled to attract visitors.
Schiermonnikoog is alive, thanks to tourism!
It was a slow process increasing tourism again,but during the 1960’s Schiermonnikoog became a popular holiday destination once more. The development of holiday accommodation and a new harbour supported this increase in popularity. When the new harbour was built, this resulted in reduced travelling times to and from the island. Nowadays, the island is visited by many guests throughout the year. On avaerage between 280,000-300,000 people each year, enjoy all that Schiermonnikoog has to offer and tourism remains an important source of income to the island.
The darkest place in the Netherlands
Schiermonnikoog is the darkest place in the Netherlands!
The degree of darkness- extremely dark nights- is determined in the Netherlands through the level of artificial lighting from the villages, towns and cities. The light polution from some cities can affect an area of approximately 50 kilometers and make the sky appear clearer. This makes the sky in the Netherlands look grey or sometimes even yellow.
The darker the sky, the more stars are visable. On a clear night on Schiermonnikoog, about three thousand stars can be seen, while in an area like the Gelderse Vallei (an area in the middle of the Netherlands) on a similar night only six hundred stars would be visable.