Griend

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Griend with swarms of birds
Bird watching house

Griend (West Frisian: Gryn) is a small uninhabited Dutch island in the Wadden Sea, lying around 12 kilometres south of Terschelling. It is one of the West Frisian Islands, and belongs to the municipality of Terschelling. The island currently has an area of around 0.1 km².

History[edit]

In the Middle Ages, the island was inhabited, and on it a walled settlement and a monastery could be found. As a result of the continuous erosion of the coast, Griend became smaller over time. In 1287 the settlement was almost completely destroyed as a consequence of St. Lucia's flood. The city was thereafter abandoned and from that time until the eighteenth century, Griend was inhabited by a few farmers, who built their houses on artificial hills. Around 1800, Griend still had an area of 0.25 km², but the island was moving to the southeast at a speed of 7 metres a year. By this time, all of its inhabitants had abandoned the island, and from then on was it used by inhabitants of Terschelling as a grazing area for sheep, and for the making of hay. The eggs of gulls and terns were also gathered for consumption.

In 1916, the grazing rights on the island were bought by the Vereniging Natuurmonumenten,[1] a union devoted to the protection of nature, which also tried to prevent the gathering of eggs by guarding the bird colonies. After the Afsluitdijk was completed in 1933, the rate of erosion increased even more. However, the island survives to the present day, though it is smaller than before, and its current location is to the southeast of its location in the Middle Ages.

Griend now[edit]

Nowadays, the island is uninhabited with the exception of a cabin used in summer by birdwatchers and biologists. Griend is not accessible to the general public.

Because Griend is unprotected by dykes, the island is slowly moving eastward. To prevent the island from vanishing altogether, some measures have been made to protect it: along its southern edge, a few dams were built, and around 1990 the island was strengthened by building a low sand dyke along the north side. Since then, the process of erosion has changed into a process of gradual growth.

Nature[edit]

The largest colony of Sandwich Terns in Western Europe can be found on Griend: every year, around 10,000 pairs breed on the island. Among others, the Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Common Eider, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Common Redshank, and occasionally the Short-eared Owl also breed on the island. During the building of the sand dike, the island was colonized by the Wood Mouse.

Griend is currently managed by the Vereniging Natuurmonumenten.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Griend at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 53°15′05″N 5°15′15″E / 53.25139°N 5.25417°E / 53.25139; 5.25417