Terschelling

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{land, century, early}
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{area, part, region}
{ship, engine, design}
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{town, population, incorporate}
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Terschelling (About this sound pronunciation ; West Frisian: Skylge; Terschelling dialect: Schylge) is a municipality and an island in the northern Netherlands, one of the West Frisian Islands.

Waddenislanders are known for their resourcefulness in using anything and everything that washes ashore. With few trees to use for timber, most of the farms and barns are built with masts recovered from shipwrecks. The islands are surrounded by famous shipwrecks, and even today many containers wash ashore that are blown off the decks of cargo ships in the North Sea. Perhaps the most famous shipwreck off the coast of Terschelling is the Lutine, whose bell hangs in Lloyd's of London. Another famous ship was the Oka 18, which sank near the town of Formerum. Until recently her funnel could be seen rising out from the sea. In West Terschelling a pub was named after this ship.

The main source of income on Terschelling is tourism. There is some agriculture, but a large part of the island has become a nature reserve.

Terschelling is well-known for the yearly Oerol Festival during which theatre-performances are played throughout the island, making use of its landscape and nature.

Terschelling can be reached by ferry from the mainland Frisian town Harlingen and from Vlieland by high-speed catamaran.

Contents

History

The island in its current shape was formed in the Middle Ages from a sandy area called De Schelling in the west and the original island Wexalia in the east. The name Wexalia, Wuxalia, or Wecsile is the medieval name of eastern Terschelling. However this name disappeared at the end of the Middle Ages. The last appearance of the name Wexalia is in a treaty between Folkerus Reijner Popma, then ruler of Terschelling, with king Edward IV of England in 1482.

The oldest traces of civilisation on Terschelling date from around 850, when a small wooden church was built on a hill near Seerip or Strip. This hill was later used as a burial ground and is known as the ”Striperkerkhof”.

Historically tensions existed between the inhabitants of West-Terschelling, with its strong orientation towards the sea, and the more agriculturally oriented inhabitants of East-Terschelling. In 1612 this led to the division of the island in independent political entities, West-Terschelling and East-Terschelling. Only after the French occupation at the start of the 19th century was Terschelling united as one entity again.

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